Legal basis

On average, Europeans generate just over 500 kilograms of municipal waste per person per year. The approach for managing this waste varies across EU Member States, as do the performances. In order to contribute to enhanced waste management performances across the EU, the EU has several of pieces of waste legislation in place. For EXPRA, the two key pieces of waste legislation are the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and the Waste Framework Directive. You can find additional information about them below.

Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD)

Approximately 25-30% of household waste generated in Europe is packaging waste. The first comprehensive piece of EU legislation on packaging waste entered into force in 1994 with Directive 94/64/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste (PPWD).

The Directive was reviewed in 2004 (2004/12/EC) as well as in 2005 (2005/20/EC), the latter review in order to give new EU Member States transitional periods to attain the recycling and recovery targets. In 2012 Directive 2013/2/EU was adopted in comitology, which amends Annex 1 of the PPWD on illustrative examples of packaging.

The Directive seeks to contribute to the reduction of the impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment, as well as the well-functioning of the internal market. This is mainly through its packaging waste provisions on:

• Prevention

• Reuse

• Recovery

• Recycling

With the entry into force of the Directive, all Member States had to introduce systems for the collection and recovery of packaging. The PPWD sets recycling and recovery targets for packaging waste. The old and new recycling requirements can be found in the table below.

It is up to each Member State to determine how to achieve these targets, and transpose the provisions of the Directive.

Revision of the Packaging Directive 94/62/EC


Old Directive

New Directive

Deadline for all

to 30.06.2001

to 31.12.2008

for P, GR, IRE

to 30.06.2005

to 31.12.2011

for new members

2005 - 2009

2012 - 2015



Min.: 50 %

Min.: 60 %


Max.: 65 %

Max.: -



Min.: 25 %

Min.: 55 %


Max.: 45 %

Max.: 80 %



Recycling specific



Min.: 15 %

Min.: 60 %


Min.: 15 %

Min.: 60 %


Min.: 15 %

Min.: 50 %


Min.: 15 %

Min.: 22,5 %


Min.: -

Min.: 15 %


Waste Framework Directive (WFD)

Directive 2008/98/EC is the EU’s Framework Directive on waste. It defines key concepts such as waste and recycling, lays down key waste management principles and includes provisions on the setting up of so called End of Waste criteria which determine when waste ceases to be waste.

The WFD also sets out the so called Waste Hierarchy for different waste management options, which Member States shall apply. According to the hierarchy, waste prevention is the preferred option, followed by preparation for reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal.

The Directive also outlines Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as a principle in EU waste legislation. It outlines that EPR can be used by Member States as a way to strengthen re-use, prevention, recycling and other recovery of waste.

The Directive also includes provisions according to which Member States need to set up waste management plans and waste prevention programmes.


EPR Glossary