Despite EU action to reduce its generation, the amount of hazardous waste generated in the EU has continued to increase since 2004. A review published today by the European Court of Auditors sheds light on existing and future challenges in dealing with hazardous waste: improving classification, ensuring traceability, increasing recycling, and combating illegal trafficking, which is still a lucrative business.
“The generation of hazardous waste is on the increase, and the EU has to address this problem”, said Eva Lindström, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the review. “The most preferable ways to handle hazardous waste are recycling and energy recovery. Disposal should only be used as a last resort. However, over 50 % of the EU’s hazardous waste is still simply disposed of. In this review, we show that preventing and treating hazardous waste remains challenging, but also presents opportunities”.