Commission v Italy

Waste and Food Processing Residues

The Advocate General of the European Court has issued an Opinion in the above case relating to Italian waste legislation.

The laws in question had claimed that, as a matter of law, foodstuffs scrapped by the agri-food industry intended for the production of animal feed are not Waste.

The case also concerned separate legislation that asserted that leftovers from commercial kitchens (where the leftovers had not entered the supply chain) where intended for shelter facilities for pet animals were also excluded from the definition of waste.

The Advocate General discussed the legal concept of waste before applying it to the facts of the present case.

He noted that it was a highly relative and subjective notion ie one man’s waste can be another man’s raw material. Something can have an economic value and still be Waste, and most residues, by their nature, are Waste.

However, some material, even where it is a production residue, can be properly classified not as Waste but as “by-products” which are intended for sale, so long as they meet the “Palin Granit” by-products test.

Here, he pointed out the distinction between production residues and “consumption residues”, and decided that leftover food really fell within the latter category, for which the “by-product” exception does not apply.

Moreover, there was insufficient evidence to show that the leftovers were being marketed as ‘raw materials for animals feed’ on terms advantageous to the seller in each and every case – in some cases the holder of the leftovers might simply be discarding the material.

In short, it was not valid to hold in every case involving such material that, as a matter of law, the material was not being discarded.

The case can be accessed by following this link.

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