Moving towards a circular economy

Waste Minimisation


One of the most significant components of the circular economy is waste prevention. According to Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) of the EU, It is defined as;

… measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste, that reduce:

(a) the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life span of products;

(b) the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health; or

(c) the content of harmful substances in materials and products.

However, waste minimisation is a more broader concept which also includes sustainable recycling & recovery of generated waste;re-use and re-manufacturing operations; re-design of production processes; waste and materials exchange; resource optimisation; improved monitoring and waste valorisation in addtion to waste prevention measures. Some potential BAT examples of waste minimisation are tabled below:  


Non-hazardous waste

Hazardous waste

Examples of BATs


Waste plastics

Waste batteries, accumulators, cartridges

Recycling of packaging wastes and e-waste

Waste glass

Electronic wastes

Paper, cardboard & wood


Combined packaging material




Pulp and paper and wood processing

Wood preservatives

Degreasing wastes

Recycling of paper waste;
Biogas production; improving production process

Sludge (paper sludge, deinking)

Dyestuffs and pigments containing dangerous substances

Paper pulp


Cardboard, paper, tissues


Organic matter from natural products (greases, lanolin, etc.)


Tanning liquor (chromium containing or free of chromium)


Agriculture, fishing, food processing

Sludges (washing, cleaning, centrifuging)

Agrochemical waste

Biogas production from organic wastes (anaerobic digesters)

Animal tissue


Plant tissue


Waste plastics


Agrochemical uncontaminated waste


Preserving agents, preservatives


Pre-treatment or dyeing of fibres or textiles

Sludges (containing chromium or free of chromium)

Sludges (containing dangerous materials mostly effluent treatment)

Recycling of textiles, Re-use of textile fibres; Re-manufacturing; Improving production process

Textile finishing waste (containing organic solvents)


Dyestuffs and pigments


Sludges (effluent treatment but non-hazardous)


Waste tanned leather


Waste from dressing and finishing (leather, textiles, etc.)


Textile fibres (cotton, acrylic, polyester, polymer)


Construction and demolition



Recycled various construction materials, re-use of rebar



Tiles and ceramics

Acid tars, coal tars, bitumen, tar residues, asphalt


Contaminated sand, soil, clay, rock


Dredging spoil

Iron, steel and other metals


Metal production
Iron and steel production

Carbon based linings and refractories (combustion refractories, furnace lining, carbon)

Carbon based linings and refractories containing dangerous substances (combustion refractories, furnace lining, carbon)

Steel and steel additive recycling, Re-use of steel


Other linings and refractories

Other linings and refractories containing dangerous substances


Iron and steel residues


Energy industry
Oil refineries, petroleum & gas production

Non-hazardous sludges (effluent sludges, boiler feedwater sludges)

Hazardous sludges (desalter, tank bottom, acid/alkyl sludges, effluent treatment, oily sludges)

Reuse of sludge in process units such as oily sludge in oil refineries

Wastes from cooling columns

Tars (acid tars and others)

Energy utilization of acid tars

Furnace dust, ash, slags

Furnace dust and ash containing dangerous substances

Recycling of iron rich residues (Oxycup, cold bonded pelleting or briquetting)

Mining and mineral treatment industry Cement, glass, glass fibre production

Wastes from mineral excavation (metalliferous or non-metalliferous)

Tailings (Acid generating tailings from processing of sulphide ore or others )

Reuse the collected dust or other particulate matter (e.g. sand, gravel) in the process in cement kiln facilities


Mineral and ore processing wastes

Valorisation of end-of-life refractory materials for possible use in other industries

Drilling muds (water based, barite or chloride containing)


Drilling mud recycling

Chemicals industry Organic and inorganic chemical processing

Metallic oxides


Integration of a soda ash plant with an ammonia plant

Effluent sludges

Organic solvents, washing liquids, mother liquids

Solvent recovery

Phosphorus slag /furnace slag

Other solid salts and solutions

Calcium based residues

Metallic oxides containing heavy metals

Waste bark and cork

Sawdust, shavings, cutting, wood, particle board containing dangerous substances

Application of ultra-filtration for coating wastewater recovery; using concentrate in pre-coating

Chemical surface treatment of plastics/metals Automotive, durable goods manufacturing

Aqueous rinsing liquids

Phosphating sludge

Dry scrubber use in paint booths in the automotive industry

Non-hazardous degreasing wastes

Hazardous sludges (paint sludge, effluent sludge)

Recycling of the paint sludge in the industry of paints and sealants

Hard zinc


Acid recycling

Zinc ash

Degreasing wastes

Wastes from other industrial processes

End-of-life tyres

End-of-life vehicles

Use as alternative fuel, use as raw material

Transformers and capacitors containing PCBs

Antifreeze fluids

Electronic wastes

HFCFs and CFCs; discarded equipment containing HCFCs and CFCs

Recycling of electronic wastes