Hazardous waste

In 1978 the then EEC adopted a Directive on toxic and dangerous waste, which was replaced by a new directive in 1991.41 However, in 2008 that was repealed by the new FDW which defines and regulates what is now called hazardous waste.

Any waste which displays one or more of the hazardous properties listed in Annex III to the FDW is ‘hazardous waste’. Among the properties listed are explosive, corrosive, carcinogenic, and ecotoxic, as defined in the Annex. However, there is also a list of wastes set out in a Commission Decision and any waste marked with an asterisk (*) in that list, as amended, shall be considered as hazardous waste.42 But a Member State may consider waste as non-hazardous even though it is marked with an asterisk if it has evidence to show that that specific waste does not display any of the properties listed in Annex III.

Member States are generally required to ensure that the production, collection, transportation, storage, and treatment of hazardous waste are carried out in conditions providing protection for the environment and human health. With some exceptions, hazardous waste may not be mixed, either with other categories of hazardous waste or with other waste, substances, or materials. Hazardous waste must also be packaged and labelled in accordance with applicable international and EU standards and, whenever transferred within a Member State, accompanied by an identification document. Exemptions apply with respect to mixed waste produced by households. (Arts 3, 7, and 17—20.)

The Court of Justice has also confirmed that waste classified as hazardous may cease to be waste if it undergoes a recovery operation that enables it to be made usable without endangering human health or harming the environment.[1] [2]

  • [1] Case C-358/11 Lapin luonnonsuojelupiiri ECLI:EU:C:2013:142, para 60.
  • [2] Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and TheirDisposal (‘Basel Convention’) (Basel, 22 March 1989) 1673 UNTS 57. For a detailed account of theConvention, the so-called ban amendment, and the EU’s position see D Langlet Prior Informed Consentand Hazardous Trade: Regulating Trade in Hazardous Goods at the Intersection of Sovereignty, Free Tradeand Environmental Protection (2nd edn, Kluwer Law International, 2009) Chap 5.
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