EU legislation - The Waste Framework Directive (WFD) - contains the definition of waste. This definition is often used to establish whether a material is a waste or not. The countries of the EU get their emphasis of reduction, re-use and recycling of waste from this document. Another important objective of the WFD is to ensure the recovery of waste or its disposal without endangering human health and the environment. The existing Waste Framework Directive (2006/12/EC), is transposed in Ireland by the Waste Management Act 1996.
In December 2008, the new WFD (Directive 2008/98/EC) came into force, amending some articles. It will replace Directive 2006/12/EC in December 2012. Amongst others, changes that will come into place include: