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Ending Waste by Law: State-of-the-Art and Perspectives in a Global Context

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2016) | Viewed by 606

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Environmental, Land, Building Engineering and Chemistry (DICATECh), Polytechnic University of Bari, Via E. Orabona n. 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
Interests: air monitoring; health and environmental risk analysis; innovative materials for environmental applications; remediation of contaminated sites; waste management; wastewater reuse
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The focus of this Special Issue (SI) is on “Ending Waste by Law: State-of-the-Art and Perspectives in a Global Context” for the legal definition of industrial by-products.

As is well known, the legal treatment of industrial residues is one of the key issues in industrial recycling (Gibbs and Deutz, 2007; Levänen, 2015). With effective regulation, it is possible to encourage the reuse of materials and to decrease the generation of waste by industries. At the same time, the regulation of residues is also a challenging task and has become a disputed issue in many countries. The legal distinction between definitions of waste materials and by-products has been a particularly controversial question. The question is important for industry because companies can do business with by-products whereas waste management only causes extra costs for them. The legal definition of residual materials is also a critical issue to the wider development of recycling societies. Heavy industries generate considerably more potentially reusable residual materials than any other sector of society. Consequently, industrial companies will play an important role in the achievement of the recycling targets that many countries have set for the future (Levänen, 2015).

The European Union (EU) wanted to clarify the distinction between industrial waste materials and by-products in member countries and introduced principal guidelines—so called by-product criteria—for a by-product definition in the Waste Framework Directive in 2008 (WFD, European parliament and the council of the European Union). According to this Directive, certain specified waste shall cease to be waste when it has undergone a recovery operation and complies with specific criteria developed in accordance with a number of conditions. These conditions are:

  • The substance or object is commonly used for specific purposes;
  • A market or demand exists for such a substance or object;
  • The substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the specific purposes and meets the existing legislation and standards applicable to products; and
  • The use of the substance or object will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.

Furthermore, the criteria shall include limit values for pollutants and shall take into account any possible adverse environmental effects of the substance or object (WFD, 2008).

Thus, substances classified as waste cease to be waste when they have undergone a recovery operation and fulfil a number of criteria, so-called end-of-waste (EoW) criteria, developed according to the basic concepts set out in the four conditions of the WFD described above (JRC, 2008).

Not restricting to the European context, this SI of Sustainability aims to address the following questions:

  • Considering potential by-product (that meet the requirements set out in conditions a) and b) mentioned above), (i) what are the technical requirements, existing legislations and standards applicable to products? And, (ii) what are the potential negative effects on environment and human health?
  • How production cycles could be modified in order to produce waste that could fit with EoW criteria? Are there examples?
  • How institutions might encourage this process of industrialization more environmentally friendly? Are there examples?
  • How EoW criteria affect interactions between industrial actors and the authorities/institutions?

Furthermore, it is hoped that this Special Issue of Sustainability will provide a useful catalogue of EoW criteria considering materials, but are not limited to, such as:

  • Organic waste as compost and digestate;
  • Struvite;
  • Metal scrap of iron and steel, aluminium, copper;
  • Paper;
  • Plastics;
  • Textiles;
  • Glass;
  • Other metals

Prof. Dr. Sabino De Gisi
Prof. Dr. Giovanni De Feo
Prof. Dr. Michele Notarnicola
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • end of waste criteria
  • recycling
  • recovery chain
  • input materials and impurity
  • processes and techniques
  • transformation of waste into products
  • organic waste from household and agriculture
  • struvite production from sludge
  • anaerobic digestion
  • limit values for pollutants
  • environmental or human health impacts
  • economic evaluations
  • incentive mechanisms

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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