The transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained for as long as possible and waste production is kept to a minimum, is an indispensable component of the Union’s European efforts to develop an economy that is sustainable, releases fewer carbon dioxide emissions, uses resources efficiently and remains competitive. This transition offers Europe the opportunity to transform the economy and generate new sustainable competitive advantages.
The EU Circular Economy Action Plan outlines a number of both general and material specific actions. While some obstacles to a circular economy are generic, different sectors and materials face specific challenges due to the particularities of the value chain.
The legislative proposals on waste, adopted together with this action plan, include long-term objectives to reduce landfilling and increase both preparation for reuse and recycling of major waste streams, such as municipal waste and packaging waste. The targets should gradually standardize the systems in place in the Member States to levels of good practice and encourage the necessary investments in waste management.
Further measures are proposed to clarify and simplify implementation, promote economic incentives and improve extended producer responsibility schemes.
A refusal ceases to be such (End of Waste) when it has undergone a recovery operation and meets specific criteria to be adopted under the following conditions (art. 184 ter of Legislative Decree 152/06 in the previous version before L55/2019):
a) The substance or object is commonly used for specific purposes;
b) There is a market or demand for this substance or object;
c) The substance or object meets the technical requirements for the specific purposes and respects the existing legislation and standards applicable to the products;
d) The use of the substance or object will not lead to overall negative impacts on the environment or human health.
These general conditions require further specifications which are referred to community criteria. In the absence of these, it is possible for Member States to decide on homogeneous types of waste when a given waste ceases to be such. The criteria include, where necessary, limit values for pollutants and take into account all possible negative effects on the environment of the substance or object.
In some cases, the recovery operation may simply consist of checking the waste to verify whether they meet the criteria developed in accordance with the aforementioned conditions.
In Italy, pending the issue of one or more decrees by the Ministry of the Environment, the provisions of old decrees-laws from 1998 to 2008 continue to apply for the characteristics of the materials.
The European Regulations issued to date on End of Waste are as follows:
• Regulation (EU) no. 333/2011 of March 31, 2011 containing “The criteria that determine when certain types of scrap metal cease to be considered waste pursuant to Directive 2008/98 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council”.
• Regulation (EU) no. 1179/2012 of December 10, 2012 containing “The criteria that determine when glass scrap ceases to be considered waste pursuant to Directive 2008/98 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council”.
• Regulation (EU) no. 715/2013 of 25 July 2013 containing “The criteria that determine when copper scrap ceases to be considered waste pursuant to Directive 2008/98 / EC of the European Parliament
and of the Council”.
WASTE AND BY-PRODUCTS: DEFINITION, CLASSIFICATION AND EXCLUSIONS
The distinction of what is waste from what is not determines the application or not of the relative legislation.
By refusal is meant any substance or object which the holder discards or has the intention or obligation to discard. This is, as is evident, a very generic definition, to be assessed case by case and whose outlines have
been better delineated by jurisprudence. In this regard, the qualification of waste is excluded in cases where the residue is not the product of a voluntary action, as well as the application of the legislation on waste for
the demolition activity, which, in itself considered , does not consist of waste management.
Even when abstractly they could be considered things, substances or materials of which the manufacturer or holder intends to discard, and therefore to be included in the concept of waste as just seen, non-waste
substances are however excluded from the discipline of waste.
Wastes are classified:
• According to the origin, in municipal waste or special waste;
• According to the hazard characteristics, in hazardous or non-hazardous waste.
CONDITIONS FOR QUALIFICATION AS BY-PRODUCT
As mentioned, in order for a substance to be qualified as a by-product, contextual compliance with a series of conditions is required:
• The substance or object originates from a production process, of which it forms an integral part, and whose primary purpose is not the production of this substance or object;
• It is certain that the substance or object will be used, during the same or a subsequent production or use process, by the manufacturer or third parties;
The substance or object can be used directly without any further treatment other than normal industrial practice;
• Further use is legal, i.e. the substance or object fulfills, for the specific use, all the relevant requirements regarding products and the protection of health and the environment and will not lead to overall negative impacts on the environment or human health.
In order to facilitate and facilitate the use as a by-product of substances and objects that derive from a production process and that meet specific criteria, as well as to ensure greater uniformity in the interpretation and application of the definition of waste and by-product – of which has seen a very uneven application over the years – the Ministry of the environment has issued the DM 13/10/2016, n. 264, which provides indications to prove the existence of the above circumstances, without prejudice to the possibility of demonstrating that a substance is a by-product and not a waste even in different ways, and without prejudice in any case to the necessary respect, for each category of substance, of the relevant sector
All forgotten waste among the types of waste that cannot be recycled are street sweeping waste, which today could be recovered with the production of gravel and sand, and fiberglass waste from the demolition of boats and
While, among the unforeseen recovery activities there are:
• Biomethane production activities from organic waste;
• The treatment of mixed plastic waste to obtain products that do not conform to the plastic products usually marketed;
• Some innovative treatments of WEEE.
The products include the production of recycled aggregates, inert construction and demolition waste or granules for soccer fields obtained from ELTs (end of life tires).