The Waste Hierarchy

Waste hierarchy is a tool used in the evaluation of processes that protect the environment alongside resource and energy consumption to most favourable to least favourable actions.[1] The hierarchy establishes preferred program priorities based on sustainability.[1] To be sustainable, waste management cannot be solved only with technical end-of-pipe solutions and an integrated approach is necessary

The waste management hierarchy indicates an order of preference for action to reduce and manage waste, and is usually presented diagrammatically in the form of a pyramid. The hierarchy captures the progression of a material or product through successive stages of waste management, and represents the latter part of the life-cycle for each product.

All the items published in the GREENCYCLE Marketplace platform are mapped to one of the Waste Hierarchy level, so you can filtering the map and search the compelling service/offer aligned to the desired level

There are 5 levels:

Prevention’ means measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste, that reduce: 

  • the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life span of products;
  • the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health;
  • the content of harmful substances in materials and products.

Re-use’ means any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived.

Recycling’ means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations.

Recovery’ means any operation the principal result of which is waste serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function, or waste being prepared to fulfil that function, in the plant or in the wider economy. Annex II sets out a non-exhaustive list of recovery operations.

Disposal’ means any operation which is not recovery even where the operation has as a secondary consequence the reclamation of substances or energy. Annex I sets out a non-exhaustive list of disposal operations.

Published: Wednesday 23 January 2019 - Last modify: Friday 03 January 2020
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