EU countries must report to the European Commission on the implementation of the EU waste laws, including on the achievement of targets for waste collection, re-use, recycling and recovery every year or every two years.
A more general overview of how well environmental law is implemented can be found in the environmental implementation review.
In 2023 the Commission published a report identifying Member States at risk of not meeting the 2025 municipal and packaging waste recycling targets and the 2035 landfilling target. This is based on the Member States assessment carried out by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Nine Member States were on track to meet the main recycling targets for municipal waste (coming from households and businesses) and packaging waste for 2025: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and Slovenia.
Eighteen Member States were at risk of missing one or more targets: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. The Commission has presented recommendations and makes available financial and technical support to these Member States.
The amended Waste Framework Directive, Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and Landfill Directive have removed the obligation for implementation reports. Now the European Commission, supported by the EEA, is required to publish early warning reports three years ahead of the recycling and landfilling target years.
In 2018, the European Commission published implementation reports giving an overview of progress and implementation challenges for several waste streams. These include municipal waste, construction and demolition waste, hazardous waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment and packaging waste. It suggests areas for improvement for each of them.
The European Commission also published early warning reports for Member States at risk of missing the 2020 target of 50% preparation for re-use / recycling for municipal waste.
- Press release: 2018 review of the implementation of EU waste rules
- Study to Identify Member States at Risk of Non-Compliance with the 2020 Target of the Waste Framework Directive and to Follow-up Phase 1 and 2 of the Compliance Promotion Exercise, Good practice appendix; Data appendix; Country reports
- Analysis by the European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy (ETC/WMGE) for the European Environment Agency (2018)
Implementation of Specific Waste Streams
Implementation reports are also published for specific waste streams. For this information, please visit the “Implementation” section on the following pages.
European List of Waste
The European List of Waste provides common terminology for classifying waste across the EU. This helps manage waste, including hazardous waste. Codes are assigned in a broad variety of activities, including the transport of waste, installation permits (which often refer also to specific waste codes), or as a basis for waste statistics.
A guidance document on the classification of waste helps national authorities, local authorities, and businesses (e.g. for permitting issues) to correctly interpret and apply EU law on the classification of waste.
- a comprehensive overview of relevant EU law
- examples of waste types for which classification is considered difficult by stakeholders
- step-by-step information on how to assess whether waste displays hazardous properties and on how to classify it
Support to implementation
Municipal Waste Compliance Promotion Exercise 2013
The aim of this exercise was for the Commission to provide support and guidance to Member States. It focused on waste policy objectives and the requirement for separate collection under the Waste Framework Directive. The Commission organised workshops, and published factsheets and roadmaps for ten European countries. The factsheets provide a summary of the current situation, and the roadmaps provide recommendations for improvement. These documents were based on a report to help Member States improve their waste management performance.
The EEA also published a report analyzing municipal waste management in Europe.
Municipal Waste Compliance Promotion Exercise 2014-2015
In its second phase, the Commission organised workshops with representatives from eight Member States to discuss the main lessons learned from the 2014-2015 compliance promotion exercise on municipal waste management. The objective was to assess waste management policy in selected Member States and help them get on track to meet EU waste targets.
The final report is available here.
View the country factsheets and roadmaps.
Waste Management Plans
Every 6 years, Member States must prepare waste management plans. These plans should cover the whole country, but local or regional authorities can prepare local or regional plans.
Establishing a waste management plan allows national, regional or local authorities to
- take stock of the existing situation
- define objectives
- define appropriate strategies
- identify the necessary implementation measures
Article 28(3) of the Waste Framework Directive lists the mandatory elements of a waste management plan, and article 28(4) lists additional elements that may be contained.
How to prepare a waste management plan?
The Commission has published a Guidance Note on preparing waste management plans.
The following studies provide practical recommendations for preparing the plans, based on the assessment of national, regional and local plans from several Member States (2015-2018)
Member States should send waste management plans to ENV-WASTE-PLANSec [dot] europa [dot] eu (the Commission) using the format outlined in Annex I.
Basic administrative rules
Relevant stakeholders, authorities and the general public must have the opportunity to contribute to the plans, and access them once complete. The plans must be placed on a publicly available website.
Member States must inform the Commission when plans are adopted or substantially revised.
Waste prevention programmes
The Waste Framework Directive required Member States to establish Waste Prevention Programmes (WPPs) by December 2013.
- Guidance document to support Member States to develop WPPs
- Specific guidelines on preparing food waste prevention programmes
- EEA’s website
Member States should notify ENV-WASTE-PLANSec [dot] europa [dot] eu (the Commission) of substantial revisions of the waste prevention programmes.