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Disposal of waste oils

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This Directive aims to promote collection and disposal of waste oils.

ACT

Council Directive 75/439/EEC of 16 June 1975 on the disposal of waste oils [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

This Directive applies to any mineral-based lubrication or industrial oils which have become unfit for their originally intended use.

Member States must ensure that waste oils are collected and disposed of (by processing, destruction, storage or tipping above or under ground).

They must give priority to the processing of waste oils by regeneration, i.e. by refining.

Where this process is not used, other methods may be considered: combustion, destruction, storage or tipping. The Directive stipulates the conditions under which this must occur; in particular, it allows undertakings to collect and/or dispose of waste oils.

The following are banned:

  • any discharge into inland surface water, ground water, territorial sea and drainage systems;
  • any deposit and/or discharge of waste oils harmful to the soil and any uncontrolled discharge of residues resulting from the processing of waste oils;

This is why:

  • any processing causing air pollution which exceeds the level prescribed by existing provisions.
  • any undertaking which collects waste oils must be subject to registration and national supervision, including possibly a system of permits;
  • any undertaking which disposes of waste oils must obtain a permit.

The Directive does not authorise mixing waste oils with polychlorinated biphenlys and polychlorinated terphenyls (PCBs and PCTs) or with toxic and dangerous wastes. Any oil:

  • containing PCBs or PCTs must, without exception, be destroyed;
  • containing toxic or dangerous products must be destroyed.

The Commission sets the reference method of measurement for determining the PCB/PCT content of waste oils.

Member States may carry out public information and promotional campaigns to ensure that waste oils are properly collected and stored.

Member States may apply more stringent measures than those laid down in the Directives.

Every three years, Member States must produce reports on the implementation of this Directive to be used by the Commission when drafting a Community report.

Directive 75/439/EEC is repealed with effect from 12 December 2010.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 75/439/EEC

18.6.1975

18.6.1977

OJ L 194 of 25.1.1975

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 1987/101/EEC

13.1.1987

1.1.1990

OJ L 42 of 12.2.1987

Directive 91/692/EEC

23.12.1991

1.1.1993

OJ L 377 of 31.12.1991

Directive 2000/76/EC

28.12.2000

-

OJ L 332 of 28.12.2000

Directive 2008/98/EC

12.12.2008

-

OJ L 312 of 22.11.2008

RELATED ACTS

Application of legislation

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 19 July 2006 on implementation of the Community waste legislation: Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste, Directive 75/439/EEC on waste oils, Directive 86/278/EEC on sewage sludge, Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste and Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste for the period 2001-2003 [COM(2006) 406 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
According to the data provided on waste oils management, in 2003 almost 2 million tonnes of waste oils were collected, giving a collection rate of 81%. Out of this amount, 44% was regenerated while 46% was treated by combustion. Over the period 1995-2003 the total quantity of oil marketed/sold decreased by 11% All the Member States transposed the Community provisions on waste oil disposal. Most stated that they had adopted more stringent measures for environmental protection reasons. Several Member States have indicated that there was no regeneration plant on their territory. Several Member States reported constraints preventing them from giving priority to regeneration of waste oils, mainly arising from the low volume of waste oils produced and the possibility of low-cost combustion in other Member States.

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 19 May 2003 on the implementation of Community waste legislation - Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste, Directive 75/439/EEC on waste oils, Directive 86/278/EEC on sewage sludge and Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste - for the period 1998-2000 [COM(2003) 250 final - Official Journal C 76 of 25.3.2004].
According to this report, the hierarchy of principles for the specific management of waste oils (regeneration, combustion and safe destruction/tipping) is not sufficiently complied with. Combustion remains the most frequently used option; regeneration is very rare within the Union. Eleven Member States apply derogations from excise duties on waste oils used as fuel. This practice is contrary to the priority given to regeneration as it encourages combustion. The average rate of waste oil collection increased during the reference period. However, 20% of this oil is still illegally dumped or burnt.

Commission Report to the Council and the European Parliament of 10 January 2000 on the implementation of Community waste legislation for the period 1995-1997 (Directives 75/442/EEC, 91/689/EEC, 75/439/EEC and 86/278/EEC) [COM(1999) 752 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission found that the hierarchy of principles for the specific management of waste oils (regeneration, combustion and safe destruction/tipping) was not sufficiently complied with. Among the eleven countries that have submitted a report, only Germany, Luxembourg and France comply with the regeneration principle. Overall, a growing use of the regeneration technique is, however, observed.

Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament of 23 February 1997 concerning the application of Directives 75/439/EEC, 75/442/EEC, 78/319/EEC and 86/278/EECon waste management [COM(97) 23 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission found that Directive 75/439/EEC was only partially implemented in the Member States and that the latter had not given priority to regenerating waste oil instead of its combustion.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Last updated: 11.05.2009
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