Achieving end-of-waste status for recovered waste materials can support the recycling of waste and the beneficial use of the waste without damaging human health and the environment. This in turn diverts waste from landfill disposal, keeping it in the economy as a resource, which can reduce the environmental impacts arising from waste management.
These overall benefits are consistent with Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy commitment to move away from an over-dependence on landfill and become a recycling society. This will in turn help Ireland to move towards a circular economy, by maintaining the value of materials for as long as possible and minimising waste.
This page aims to help you to:
1. Understand the concept of end-of-waste and consider whether to apply for end-of-waste status for your recovered/recycled material(s). More detailed guidance can be found in Draft End-of-Waste - Guidance Document Part 1.
2. Make a good quality application to the EPA, if you decide that it is appropriate to apply for end-of-waste status. More detailed guidance can be found in Draft End-of-Waste - Guidance Document Part 2.
The concept of end-of-waste was established in the European Waste Framework Directive (WFD). It has been adopted in domestic law through Article 28 of the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations 2011, as amended. End-of-waste gives waste holders the opportunity to demonstrate, with an appropriate level of rigour, that:
Significant benefits may be realised by industry, society and the regulator from achieving end-of-waste status. The use of waste-derived materials reduces the need to exploit primary resources in addition to the diversions of waste from landfill or incineration. This can reduce local environmental impacts, such as amenity impacts arising from quarrying and refining, and global environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions.
The end-of-waste test is made up of four pillars, which represent the conditions in Article 28. All of the four pillars must be met.
An overriding requirement is that the material must have undergone a recovery operation. The recovery of waste in Ireland requires waste authorisation. The recovery of the waste enables the material to serve a useful purpose given that no further treatment is necessary prior to its use, the material has been ‘fully recovered’. A more detailed introduction to the scope of the pillars and the meaning of fully recovered is given in the Draft End-of-Waste - Guidance Document Part 1.
End-of-waste criteria represent the specific requirements that need to be fulfilled by a material to cease to be regulated as waste. These criteria will be specific for the defined use(s) of the material. The criteria ensure that the use of the material will not have overall adverse effects and that it is of sufficient quality to support a sustainable market. End-of-waste criteria are material specific, as each material will have different characteristics, risks and intended uses.
End-of-waste criteria have been set at EU level for glass cullet, and copper, iron, steel and aluminium scrap. Therefore if you are interested in achieving end-of-waste for one of these materials, refer to the European Union level end-of-waste criteria.
Where no EU-level end-of-waste criteria have been set, applications for case-specific end-of-waste criteria can be made to the EPA, which will then decide on whether end-of-waste status has been demonstrated. These applications can be made by:
If you decide to make an end-of-waste application, it is important to note that the end-of-waste test represents a high bar. Waste regulation plays an important role to protect people and the environment and to safeguard natural resources. If you achieve end-of-waste status for your material, by definition this means it is no longer regulated as a waste. It is therefore essential that you present a robust case that allows the EPA to fully understand the risks and mitigations and gives it confidence to make a decision.
If you would like to find out more about how to apply for end-of-waste status and what is required, see Preparing an End-of-Waste Application. You may find it helpful to consider previous end-of-waste decisions made by the EPA: see End-of-Waste Criteria.
If you are still not sure if an end-of-waste application is appropriate for you, more detailed information on the end-of-waste concept and test can be found in Draft End-of-Waste - Guidance Document Part 1.
There are three levels of end-of-waste criteria that may be available to operators as follows: