Module 4 – Waste management

Date of implemented Module: 9.5.2024.

Place of implementation: Veterans Center Hristijan Karposh, Skopje

Facilitator: Anastasija Micevska


The EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD, Directive 2008/98/EC) defines waste management as encompassing the activities of collecting, transporting, recovering (which includes sorting), and disposing of waste, as well as overseeing these operations and managing disposal sites afterward, including actions taken as a waste operator or broker.

This crucial process plays a big role in achieving the objectives of sustainable development, which aims to safeguard our environment for future generations.

The core principles of waste management as stated in the EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD, Directive 2008/98/EC) mandate that waste must be handled in a manner that:

– Ensures human health and environmental safety;

– Poses no risk to water, air, soil, plants, or animals;

– Avoids creating disturbances due to noise or odors;

– Does not harm rural areas or sites of special importance.

To achieve these objectives, various actions are employed, including waste prevention, reduction, recycling, treatment, and disposal.

Waste management systems should adhere to the waste hierarchy, which prioritizes the following steps, in sequence:

  • Prevention: The best approach is to reduce waste generation at its source, including minimizing packaging and using products with longer lifespans.
  • Preparing for reuse: Extending the life of items or materials through reuse is more sustainable than disposal, involving repurposing, repairing, or donating items.
  • Recycling: Materials that cannot be prevented or reused should be recycled whenever possible, converting waste materials into new products.
  • Recovery: When recycling is not feasible, energy or valuable materials can be recovered from waste through processes like incineration or anaerobic digestion.
  • Disposal: As a last resort, waste is disposed of in landfills, with proper disposal methods essential to prevent environmental harm.

With the development of society and technology, there has been an increasing number of materials being used, as well as an increase in waste generated in everyday life and industry. This has led to the need to classify waste in order to establish an easier waste management system.

Waste can be categorized into various types based on its composition, including:

  • Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) – Household waste, which includes materials like food scraps, packaging, and consumer products;
  • Hazardous waste – Potentially harmful waste materials that require special handling and disposal due to their toxic, flammable, or reactive nature;
  • Industrial waste – Waste generated by industries and manufacturing processes;
  • Electronic waste (E-waste) – Discarded electronic devices and components, which may contain hazardous materials;
  • Construction and demolition waste – Waste produced during construction, renovation, and demolition activities;
  • Biomedical waste – waste generated by healthcare facilities, such as infectious or hazardous medical waste;
  • Organic waste – Biodegradable materials like food waste and yard waste.

Depending on the category to which the waste belongs, a different system for collection, sorting, treatment, and permanent disposal of residues is established.

Managing waste in an environmentally sound manner and making use of the secondary materials they contain are key elements of the EU’s environmental policy.

The EU Green Deal serves as a holistic strategy to ensure the sustainability of the EU economy by addressing climate and environmental challenges across various policy areas. It aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, transforming the EU into a resource-efficient and competitive economy with no net greenhouse gas emissions. The Green Deal encompasses diverse policy domains such as energy, transport, biodiversity, agriculture, and circular economy, among others.

While the Green Deal does not explicitly outline specific goals for waste management as a standalone section, it integrates waste-related objectives throughout its framework. Here are key aspects of the EU Green Deal relevant to waste management:

Circular Economy: The Green Deal underscores the shift to a circular economy, emphasizing sustainable resource usage. This involves reducing waste generation, promoting recycling and reuse, and designing products with recyclability in mind.

Plastics Strategy: The Green Deal includes initiatives to tackle plastic pollution, including measures to reduce single-use plastics and promote the use of recycled plastics.

Waste Management: Although not elaborated in detail, the Green Deal aims to enhance waste management practices, including improved collection, sorting, treatment, and disposal to minimize environmental impact.

Legislation: The Green Deal aims to strengthen the enforcement and implementation of waste-related laws at both EU and national levels, ensuring effective waste management aligned with EU standards.

Innovation: The Green Deal encourages innovation in waste management technologies and supports the development of sustainable products and services to facilitate the transition to a circular economy.

In summary, the EU Green Deal presents a comprehensive strategy for fostering a sustainable and circular economy, with waste management serving as a pivotal component in this transformative process.

This module aims to familiarize participants with the basic concepts of waste management and the challenges we face in reducing the harmful impact of waste on the environment and human health.

By utilizing various interactive activities, participants should be motivated to manage their waste properly, starting with preventing its generation. The module should also provide participants with a broader understanding of how all the waste we produce daily affects other people, wildlife, and the environment. Through some activities, participants will gain knowledge about how they can contribute to proper waste management.


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