The sixth Environmental Action Programme focuses on the 20% reduction in the quantity of waste going to final disposal by 2010 and the 50% reduction by 2050[1]. To this aim, several actions are included such as separate collection for at least paper, metal, plastics and glass by 2015. The targets include the recycling or preparation for reuse the 50% of household waste by 2020.

Key term in waste legislation and policy is the waste hierarchy which includes the most desirable options in waste management:

  • preventing and reducing the quantity of waste
  • recovering materials for reuse
  • recycling
  • energy recovery
  • the safe disposal of waste in residues landfills

Figure 1: Waste hierarchy under Directive 2008/98/EC

Guidelines on the key provisions of Directive 2008/98/EC, regarding prevention, reuse, recycling, energy recovery on waste are included in the national rules. Furthermore, the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC obligates Member States to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that they landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2016 (for some countries by 2020).

The national laws of the member states are harmonized with the European legislation. According to Greek legislation:

  • sorting at source (at least for glass, paper, plastic and metal) by 2015
  • increase of 50% for preparation for reuse and recycling of household or similar commercial solid waste (at least for paper, metal, plastic and glass) by 2020
  • reducing the amount of biodegradable municipal solid waste that they landfill to 50% of 1995 levels by 2013 and to 35% of 1995 levels by 2020