Rocks are not waste

Italian confusion over whether excavated rocks and soil should be considered waste have been cleared up.

Commission v Italy

Waste and Excavated Earth and Rocks

The Advocate-General has issued an Opinion in relation to a piece of Italian waste legislation which had said that unpolluted excavated earth and rocks intended for actual reuse for re-filling, infilling, embanking and grinding were, as a matter of law, not waste.

The Advocate-General again referred to the "Palin Granit" on by-products, whereby goods, materials or raw materials resulting from a manufacturing or extraction process not primarily intended to produce that item may also constitute a by-product, and not a residue, where the undertaking intends to exploit or market on terms advantageous to it, in a subsequent process without processing prior to reuse. He confirmed that it can "decisive" if there is evidence that the substance represents an economic value to the holder, rather than a burden, whether in terms of its further exploitation or use for the principal activity, or because the holder markets it on terms advantageous to him.

Part of the problem here was that, in his Opinion, it can't automatically be inferred that because something isn't "waste", the material is necessarily intended for re-use. There was also no provision for reuse to be within a certain timeframe.

Accordingly, he decided it was not acceptable to exclude all such materials, in law, from the definition of waste.

The case can be accessed by following this link.

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