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Implementation of the Waste Framework Directive

Proper implementation, application and enforcement of EU waste law are one of the key priorities of EU environmental policy.


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.

See here factsheets for each country.

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.

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.

The European List of Waste is regularly revised. The latest amendment was made in 2014, following a review study.

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.

It provides

  • 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

Find all documents relating to inspections and enforcement and guidance for 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.

View the final report for 2013, as well as country factsheets and roadmaps.

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-PLANSatec [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.

Member States should notify ENV-WASTE-PLANSatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (the Commission) of substantial revisions of the waste prevention programmes.