C-01 End-of-waste status

Aspect C-01 End-of-waste status
Different countries define a waste’s end-of-waste status at different points in the waste treatment or recycling process. How should the end-of-waste state be defined?

related study objective

stand-alone LCA comparative assertion

related study phase

goal and scope definition inventory analysis (LCI) impact assessment (LCIA) interpretation reporting

relevant for

new buildings existing buildings construction products screening LCA simplified LCA complete LCA
Provisions The provisions in EN 15804, which are copied from the European Waste Directive, should be followed. They include the definition, when the end-of-waste state is reached. Based on the end-of-waste state, module D is used: further processing of materials that have reached the end-of-waste state (e.g. recycling, energy recovery, etc.) is covered from module D. The definition of the end-of-waste status is given in the European Waste Directive [European Directive 2008/98/CE, see article 6]. This also means that national rules (the implementation of the Directive into national legislation) on the specific definition of the end-of-waste status should be applied, if available and appropriate.
Rules from:

EN 15804 Product stage: End-of-Waste definition of this standard applies also to raw materials or products manufactured outside Europe. End-of-life stage: Definition of the end-of-waste status
EN 15804 follows the Waste Framework Directive in setting the system boundary at the end-of-waste state using the same criteria.These end-of-waste criteria are used for assessing the system boundary for the waste treatment of construction products at the end of life stage (C3), but also for setting the system boundary for the input of secondary/waste material and secondary fuel to manufacturing (A1–A3), and for deciding the system boundary for wastes arising from all life cycle stages, including manufacturing (A1–A3), construction (A5) and use (B2–B5).The Waste Framework Directive, as with other EU directives, is implemented individually within each EU Member State. This means that the same material may be considered a waste in one Member State but to have reached the end-of-waste state in another Member State. This may be, for example, because the material is commonly used for one purpose in one Member State but not in another, or because a market for the material exists in one Member State that does not exist in another, or because national legislation in one Member State prevents the use of the material in that Member State.

The end-of-waste state for waste in Europe is considered to be reached when the material is no longer considered a waste under the national implementation of the Waste Framework Directive. This means that the rules of the (national) context of a study should be applied in the first place. If the waste arises or is treated outside Europe, EN 15804 is clear that the same rules regarding the end-of-waste state (i.e. from the Waste Framework Directive) should be applied, irrespective of legislation in the relevant country.  In this case, the LCA practitioner should consider the end-of-waste criteria and apply them to the waste to decide the end-of-waste state, and justify this in the background report.

By the same argument, within Europe, the LCA practitioner can also consider the end-of-waste criteria and apply them to wastes produced in Europe, and set a different end-of-waste state than national implementation of the Waste Framework Directive. In this case, the decision must be stated and justified in the background report.

For example, a trade association study covering products produced in several Member States may choose a conservative/worst-case choice for the end-of-waste state for secondary/waste material/fuel inputs if the material/fuel has different status in different Member States.

It would not be appropriate to take a best-case choice based on the end-of-waste state in another Member State if the situation where the waste is produced is completely different. For example, another Member State may have a common use and active market for a material, and the end-of-waste state may be set at the point where the waste is collected. The manufacturer, however, produces the same waste in a location where there is no common usage or market for the waste. In this case it would not be appropriate to use the situation in another Member State to decide the end-of-waste state, if this meant the manufacturer was able to avoid the burdens of waste treatment associated with the waste to achieve the national end-of-waste state where the recovered material had a more local common usage and active market. This follows the ‘polluter pays’ principle underlying EN 15804.

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