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Directive 2008/98/EC
European Union directive
TitleWaste Framework Directive
Made byEuropean Parliament & Council
Made underArticle 175(1)
Journal reference[1]
Date made19 November 2008
Came into force12 December 2008
Other legislation
Replaces75/439/EEC, 75/442/EEC, 91/156/EEC, 91/689/EEC and 2006/12/EC
Current legislation

The Waste Framework Directive (WFD) is a European Union Directive concerned with "measures to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste and by reducing overall impacts of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use".[1] The first Waste Framework Directive dates back to 1975.[2] It had previously been substantially amended in 1991 [3] and 2006.[4] The present directive was adopted on 19 November 2008.[1]

The aim of the WFD was to lay the basis for turning the EU into "a 'recycling society' seeking to avoid waste generation and to use waste as a resource" (Preamble, section 28).

One of the features of the WFD is the European Waste Hierarchy.[5]

Key terms

End-of-waste criteria

End-of-waste criteria specify when certain waste material ceases to be "waste" and takes on the status of a product (or a secondary raw material).

According to Article 6 (1) and (2), certain specified waste shall cease to be waste when it has undergone a recovery (including recycling) operation and complies with specific criteria to be developed in line with certain legal conditions, in particular:

High quality recycling

Article 11 requires member states to "promote high quality recycling". The term "high quality" is not defined, but it consists in meeting "the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors".[1]

Separate collection

Article 10(2) of the Waste Framework Directive set out a general requirement of separate collection and obliged member states to set up separate collection systems for at least paper, metal, plastic and glass by 2015. Article 11 (1) set out requirements for member states to take measures to promote high-quality recycling through separate collection.[7]

Technically, environmentally and economically practicable

According to the EU's guidance, "the combination of terms 'technically, environmentally and economically practicable' describes the preconditions for Member States being, to varying extents, obliged to set up separate collection under Articles 10 and 11 [of the Directive]".[8]


  1. ^ a b c Directive 2008/98/EC of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives.
  2. ^ Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste. End of validity 16 May 2006, and repealed by 2006/12/EC.
  3. ^ Directive 91/156/EEC of 18 March 1991 on waste. End of validity 16 May 2006, and repealed by 2006/12/EC.
  4. ^ Directive 2006/12/EC of 5 April 2006 on waste. End of validity 11 December 2006, and repealed by 2008/98/EC.
  5. ^ Zhang, Chunbo; Hu, Mingming; Di Maio, Francesco; Sprecher, Benjamin; Yang, Xining; Tukker, Arnold (10 January 2022). "An overview of the waste hierarchy framework for analyzing the circularity in construction and demolition waste management in Europe". Science of the Total Environment. 803: 149892. Bibcode:2022ScTEn.803n9892Z. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149892. hdl:1887/3212790. ISSN 0048-9697. PMID 34500281. S2CID 237468721.
  6. ^ European Commission, Waste Framework Directive: End-of-waste criteria, accessed 31 December 2020. This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 4.0 license.
  7. ^ European Commission - DG ENV, Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU, published 2014, accessed 28 December 2020
  8. ^ European Commission, Guidance on the interpretation of key provisions of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, para 4.4, accessed 28 December 2020