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LIFE & Waste Management The EU LIFE Programme The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value. Since its start in 1992, LIFE has been continuously co-funding innovative projects that upgrade waste recycling technologies and processes in a wide variety of industrial sectors all over Europe. Out of the 3 956 initiatives supported by LIFE to date, more than 500 have been exclusively on waste, with almost 380 million euros allocated. In fact, waste and recycling is the most popular theme tackled by the Programme. Amongst the issues addressed by LIFE, it has focused in particular on demonstrating innovative technologies for recycling specific materials from different waste streams, such as hazardous, agricultural or municipal waste. Linking waste management to other environmental topics such as climate change or the protection of water resources has been another issue much covered by the Programme. Finally, LIFE has also actively contributed to waste prevention by raising public awareness, promoting the exchange of knowledge and developing information tools for better waste management. Two LIFE good practices are profiled here, and a list of 14 other waste management projects is attached. Further details about these, plus more than 500 other waste projects, can be found in the LIFE project database:

Title: WGF-PP - Demonstration of a process to recycle glas fibre waste, placed on rubbish dump, producing Polypropilene composites Project number: LIFE07 ENV/E/000802 Contact: Isidoro Javier Román López Email: Website: Proyectos/Otros_Sectores/proyectos/otros_05.html


Title: WEEE-NET - Project to demonstrate an innovative ICT platform as support tool to implement Community Policy for the sustainable management of e-waste Project number: LIFE07 ENV/E/000842 Contact: Idoia Unzueta Balmaseda Email: Website:



Some 150 000 tonnes of fibreglass waste is landfilled in the EU every year. The WGF-PP project demonstrated an innovative solution that gave a new use to glass fibre and plastic wastes in the production of reinforced thermoplastics. Prior to the project, the use of non-virgin fibreglass or other material in the classic production system was not possible - the machinery would break down as a result of the abrasive effect of the plastic glass. The technology developed by the project involved a new mixing machine that produces reinforced plastics and allows different types of used material (fibreglass, polypropylene, additives, dyes, etc.) to be added.

Some 8.3-9.1 million tonnes/year of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is produced in the EU27 countries (2005 figures), of which some 90% is landfilled, incinerated or recovered without any pre-treatment. This results in significant environmental impacts - mainly from air, water and soil contamination by heavy metals. WEEE is growing three times faster – at 3-5% - than average EU waste production across all sectors. Experience shows that WEEE is not easy to treat and manage, particularly because of the poor quality of data about EEE content provided by producers.

The final product can be used in the automotive and appliance sectors. Its recycled glass fibre reinforced plastics granules, exhibit mechanical properties that are equivalent to 85-95% of virgin materials. Apart from providing a solution for reintroducing glass fibre wastes to the market, the project also benefits the environment by reducing the amount of energy-consuming fibreglass consumption/production. Specifically, the plant constructed in this project has a processing capacity of 17 000 tonnes/year, representing a reduction in CO2 emissions of 2 920 tonnes/ year. This technology has also a high transferability potential. If fully applied to the 150 000 tonnes of glass fibre waste produced in Europe every year, then this technology would lead to a saving of 219 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

In order to solve this problem, the LIFE+ project WEEE-NET has developed a methodology that ensures cradle-to-grave traceability of EEE. This is done by means of a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) self-adhesive tag that contains useful information on the EEE product, and a web-based platform that stores and manages the information from each tag. This web-based platform provides producers and managers with the information they need to improve environmental performance over the life of EEE. It integrates the eco-design modules, data on EEE models for producers, and definition of reception, classification and re-use procedures for ­e-waste managers. The project tested the RFID tag in 3 500 new fridge units. Tests showed that tags containing recycling and re-use information can improve WEEE handling, sorting, recovery, recycling and disposal efficiency by around 30%. They can also speed up repair processes and could enable better recovery of parts and provide important efficiencies for logistics operators.


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Design, construction and validation of a prototype installation for a safe deposit of surplus mercury from the European industry

European Standards for Treatment and Recycling of E&E Waste and for Monitoring the Processing Companies

Beneficiary: Minas de Almaden y Arrayanes, S.A.

Beneficiary: WEEE Foundation (Professional organisation)

LIFE06 PREP/E/000003

LIFE07 ENV/B/000041



Process for Advanced Management of End of Life of Aircraft

Management, recycling and recovery of wastes of recreational boat scrapping

Beneficiary: AIRBUS France (International enterprise)

Beneficiary: Acondicionamiento Terrasense (NGO/Foundation) innovation/eco-efficiency/ aircraft-end-of-life/pamela/

LIFE05 ENV/F/000059

LIFE08 ENV/E/000158



Environmentally-friendly management of swine waste based on innovative technology: a demonstration project set in Aragón

Integral liquid residuals management model for surface tratment industries through BAT’s (ZERO PLUS)

Beneficiary: SODEMASA (Development Agency)

LIFE06 ENV/E/000044

Beneficiary: AIMME (Research Institution)

LIFE05 ENV/E/000256



No Vetro in Discarica (No glass in landfill): demonstrating innovative technologies for integral recovery of glass rejects actually landfilled

Recovery of Clean Wood from Dirty Wood Beneficiary: Palfab Ltd (SME)

Beneficiary: SASIL S.p.A. (SME)

LIFE06 ENV/IRL/000532

LIFE07 ENV/IT/000361



Integral management model of recovery and recycling of the proper solid waste from the fishing and port activities

Integrated Waste Management System for the Reuse of Used Frying Oils to Produce Biodiesel for Municipality Fleet of Oeiras

Beneficiary: CETMAR (Public foundation)

Beneficiary: Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade (Scientific association)

LIFE07 ENV/E/000814

LIFE05 ENV/P/000369



Valorisation of polishing sludge as raw material in the ceramic tiles production Beneficiary: Cooperativa Ceramica D’imola (Cooperative)

Controlled Treatment of TBT-Contaminated Dredged Sediments for the Beneficial Use in Infrastructure Applications Case: Aurajoki - Turku en/imolaceramica/company/ progetto-life-p.s.v life/stable/index.asp

LIFE05 ENV/IT/000875

Beneficiary: Terramary Oy (SME) LIFE06 ENV/FIN/000195



Public-Private Partnerships to optimise waste prevention, recovery and recycling systems in mass tourism destinations

Beneficiary: Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale – Università degli Studi di Firenze

UP-grading of landfillgas for lowering CO2 emissions

Beneficiary: Development Association of Local Authorities of Halkidiki S.A.

LIFE07 ENV/GR/000265

LIFE08 ENV/IT/000429

More LIFE projects on waste in: The LIFE Project database: Visit the LIFE website:

Factsheet LIFE & waste management  

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation,...

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