Recycling and the meaning of "waste" under EEC law

Materials sent for recycling can fall within the definition of "waste" under the key EEC Directives on the subject, the European Court of Justice has ruled. The question is one which has yet to be addressed directly by higher courts in the UK in the context of British waste management laws, but he European Court's decision is in line with current Department of the Environment thinking, and is consistent with an interpretation by the High Court last year in a case concerning the meaning of "trade waste" in planning regulations (ENDS Report 178, p 33 ).

The joined cases 206/88 and 207/88 Vessoso and Zannetti (Decision of the European Court of Justice, 28 March 1990, English translation not yet published) concerned two Italians who had been charged with collecting, transporting and storing waste without prior authorisation, contrary to a 1982 Italian Presidential Decree on waste management. Their defence was that they were not handling "waste" but materials capable of economic recycling

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