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Definition: European Waste Catalogue (EWC)


The European Waste Catalogue (EWC) was developed pursuant to Article 1(a) of Council Directive 75/442/EEC on waste. Tis article defines the term "waste" as: "any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard".

The EWC applies to all wastes, irrespective of whether they are destined for disposal or for recovery operations. It is an harmonized, non-exhaustive list of wastes, that is to say, a list which will be periodically reviewed and if necessary revised.

However, the inclusion of a material in the EWC does not mean that the material is a waste in all circumstances. The entry is only relevant when the definition of waste has been satisfied.

The EWC is to be a reference nomenclature providing a common  terminology throughout the Community with the purpose to improve the efficiency of waste management activities.

The EWC is not a statistical classification.