The European Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/CE) provides for a legislative framework for waste management to all European Union Member States. The European approach, in order of priority, requires the reduction of the total amount of waste, recycling, other forms of recovery (e.g. energy) and definitive disposal. Generally, it must be emphasized how dumps are discouraged as a disposal solution while incineration is accepted only with a programme of gradual reduction of its consequential dangerous emissions.
This directive also makes reference to the Packaging Directive (1994/62/CE) where guidelines are listed to manage this specific kind of waste. The aforementioned priorities are valid for packaging products as well as any other type of waste.
Concerning recycling, there is specific reference to European Norm EN13432 which provides for the characteristics a product should have to be disposed of via organic recycling (composting).
It is important to underline that the abovementioned directives are a form of legislation directed at all Member States, expect for those States where local legislation is more restrictive on this matter.
On April 16th 2014, the European Parliament voted to approve the draft European Directive on carrier bags presented by the Commission on November 4th 2013. EU Member States will have to reduce single-use shopping bags, with targets set at 50% by 2017 and 80% by 2019 (compared to 2010 figures).