Economic instruments to improve waste management

Some EU Member States already recycle or compost over 60% of their municipal waste (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands), whilst others still send over 90% to landfill (e.g. Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania). The countries with better waste management performance tend to have in place a set of economic instruments to drive and support improvements.

Following on from a previous study in support of the review of the Waste Thematic Strategy and the conclusions of the 2011 EU Roadmap on Resource Efficiency, IEEP led a study on the use of economic instruments and their impact on Member States’ waste management performances. The study compares the economic instruments in place (landfill and incineration taxes, pay-as-you-throw systems and producer responsibility schemes), attempts to draw conclusions on their impact on waste management, and makes recommendations for future EU level action to encourage the use of economic instruments to support improved waste management across the EU.