EEA outlines measures for reducing landfill of biodegradable waste

On 22 March, the European Environment Agency (EEA) issued a study on the status of biodegradable waste in Europe. It highlights the differences between the national strategies drawn up, the methods currently used and the alternatives to landfill available.

The report by the EEA aims to compare the development of the treatment of biodegradable waste between Member States, as well as suggesting measures to reduce the use of landfills. The main findings are:

  • The options to landfill are limited and include incineration with energy recovery, central composting and material recycling.
  • There are considerable gaps in information at national level. Harmonised data collection systems and reporting must be developed to be able to follow the waste flows.
  • A more detailed description of what should be considered as biodegradable waste is needed.
  • Countries, particularly Denmark, that have been successful in minimising landfill, have used an integrated approach including separate collection, development of a market for the side-products and a combined use of several treatment options.
  • Bans, restrictions and taxation are key instruments to divert biodegradable waste away from landfills.


Biodegradable waste comprises for example food waste, garden waste, paper, cardboard, textiles and wood. The landfill directive from 1999, obliges Member States to reduce the quantities of biodegradable waste going to landfill. Member States also have to draw up national strategies for how to meet the targets.


The Environment Directorate-General and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission organise a three day technical and scientific workshop on "Biological treatment of biodegradable waste - Technical aspects" that will take place in Brussels from 8 until 10 April 2002.


Life Terra

Funded by the LIFE Programme of the EU

The content of this publication represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The Agency does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

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