On 21 June 2012, the European Commission published the “Guidance on the interpretation of key provisions of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste” (Waste Framework Directive - WFD). This is a non binding Guidance which aims to assist both national authorities and economic operators with the aforementioned legislation. One of the areas covered by the Guidance is the issue of ‘recovery’, which includes “co-processing’. In this respect, the Guidance indicates that, for the purposes of recovery, waste has to serve a useful purpose ‘as a principal result’ of the recovery. In addition, the substitution achieved can take place not just in the plant where the waste is being treated but also ‘in the wider economy’. In relation to co-processing, waste can be used in an operation which combines two waste management recovery options at the same time. The energy content of the waste is recovered (R1 operation) as thermal energy, thereby substituting fossil fuels, whilst the mineral fraction of the waste can be integrated within the matrix of the product or material produced, as in the case of cement. The Guidance also clearly states that the REACHi legislation applies to by-products, such as slag. Also contained within the document is a section on end-of-waste (EOW) which provides a reference to and clarification of the WFD criteria, as well as examples of EOW criteria for iron and steel scrap. In addition, it makes a clear reference to the Pre-Treatment Best Available Techniques (BATi) Reference Document (BREFi) on the issue of addressing BAT for mixing waste.
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