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New Perspectives on the Definition of Waste in EC Law

The definition of the concept of waste laid down in Directive 75/442/EEC on waste constitutes the keystone of all sectoral regulation on waste products, including the Community rules pertaining to the trans-frontier movement of waste. The definition runs as follows: ”any substance or object in the categories set out in Annex 1 which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard” is deemed to be waste.

by Nicolas de Sadeleer

Consequently, any substance or object falling under this definition is subject to the administrative obligations relating to the collection, sorting, storage, transportation, international transfer and treatment methods stemming from the various waste directives and regulations. In order to evade the Caudine Forks of waste regulation, including the financial burden of waste transfer, some economic operators have not hesitated to qualify their residues as either products or byproducts. The European Community definition has thus been at the root of various controversies not only in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands but also in all other Member States where national authorities and public officials cross swords with business on the issue of whether such and such a product constitutes waste or not.

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published: Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, JEEPL 1/2005 (February 2005), 2|2005
Keywords: Curbside Collection, Policy of European Union, Sorting Technology, Vehicle Fleet, Garage, Waste Law
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