The Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council
Waste management is governed at EU level by Directive 2008/98/EC, which defines the concepts of waste, recovery and disposal and establishes the essential requirements for correct management.
In particular, the Directive lays down the obligation for an establishment or undertaking carrying out waste management operations to have a permit or be registered, as well as the obligation for Member States to draw up waste management plans and protect the environment.
The Consolidated Law on the Environment
At national level, continuing with the process launched through Italian Legislative Decree no. 22/1997 (the so-called “Ronchi Decree”), the reference regulation is the Testo Unico Ambientale (Consolidated Law on the Environment - TUA) - Italian Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 - through which the Legislator set the goal of regulating environmental and water cycle issues.
Art. 179 of the TUA, in particular, indicates the priorities as regards waste, establishing the following hierarchy:
- waste prevention
- preparation for future reuse
- other types of recovery, e.g. energy recovery
- disposal, as the last resort and a residual option
The regulatory framework of the TUA has been subject, over the years, to major legislative insertions, which have modified the original mechanism by overhauling important concepts linked to responsibilities in waste management (articles 188, 189, 190 and 193 of the TUA) and sanctioning aspects (articles 258 and 260 of the TUA).
Management of packaging waste
With reference to the main waste flows, national regulations on the management of packaging waste (derived from European legislation, with Directive 1994/62/EC and the subsequent Directive 2004/12/EC, adopted firstly through Italian Legislative Decree no. 22/1997 and then through the TUA) refer to two underlying assumptions:
- the extended responsibility of the producer, in accordance with the polluter-pays principle, makes producers and users responsible for the “proper and effective environmental management of the packaging and packaging waste generated by the consumption of their products”.
It is the responsibility of the “producer” to pursue the final objectives of recycling and recovery laid down in the legislation in force;
- “shared responsibility”, i.e. cooperation among all the economic operators concerned by the management of packaging waste, both public and private.
After establishing that producers and users are responsible for the proper and effective management of packaging and packaging waste (art. 221), the TUA sets the foundations of the model used for achieving the recovery targets: art. 223 - Consortia and art. 224 - National Packaging Consortium.
Waste management using waste electrical and electronic equipment
Waste management using waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is governed at European level by Directive 2012/19/EU, with the aim of providing Member States with guidelines for the implementation of a WEEE management system. At national level, the Directive is adopted by Italian Legislative Decree no. 49 of 14 March 2014 and the associated Ministerial Decrees, in order to govern the implementation aspects, based on the fundamental principle of the extended responsibility of the producer.
The proper management of waste batteries and accumulators, enshrined in Italian Legislative Decree no. 188/2008 - adopting European Directive 2006/66/EC - relies on a regulatory framework where producers - or consortia acting on their behalf - are responsible for the organisation and management of separate collection systems.
Action Plan for the Circular Economy
In 2015, the European Union launched an “Action Plan for the Circular Economy” to ensure that, through recovery, goods which still have some degree of usefulness are reintroduced into the system, thus making landfill an even more unlikely option. Of the various regulatory tools envisaged, four directives (comprising the so-called “circular economy package”) amend the main EU regulations on waste management. The deadline indicated by the EU for conformity by the Member States is 05 July 2020.
Adoption into Italian national law will be achieved through the amendment of certain measures:
- Italian Legislative Decree no. 152/2006 T.U.A.
- Italian Legislative Decree no. 36/2003 (implementation of Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfills of waste);
- Italian Legislative Decree no. 209/ 2003 (implementation of Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of life vehicles);
- Italian Legislative Decree no. 188/2008 (implementation of Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries);
- Italian Legislative Decree no. 49/2014 (implementation of Directive 2012/19/EU on WEEE).
Links to institutional websites
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