Europe: EQual - Ensuring Quality of waste-derived products to achieve resource efficiency


EQual is an innovative demonstration programme, supported by LIFE+ and seven key partner organisations, which will encourage the appropriate use of waste-derived products. It will achieve this by providing tools, techniques and information to improve decision-making and boosting confidence in waste-derived products that meet end-of-waste status.

The Environment Agency is leading the programme with six partners:

  • Rijkswaterstaat
  • The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management
  • Association for Organics Recycling
  • Environmental Services Association
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • Energy UK

Developing an end-of-waste and byproduct decision e-tool

There is no set way for business to demonstrate whether their waste-derived product has achieved end-of-waste status, or their production residues can be traded as byproducts, in accordance with the Waste Framework Directive. However, there are guidance documents such as Quality Protocols in the UK and end-of-waste regulations published by the European Commission which can help with this assessment. The e-tool being designed will be especially useful for those whose waste derived products and production residues do not fit within guidance currently available.

The e-tool will seek to encourage waste recovery and recycling improved resource efficiency and reduced regulatory burden on business as well as offer a potential competitive advantage.
Through the e-tool, the aim is to:

  • Improve current practice and consistency. Users must meet a set of key questions in order to assess fulfilment of end-of-waste or byproduct requirements.
  • Encourage more businesses to reuse and recycle waste materials rather than dispose of them, by showing users how to assess the potential use of that waste material.
  • Provide clear and consistent information to regulators and other interested parties.
  • Promoto efficiency among both businesses and regulators by clarifying the information required to make an end-of-waste decision or byproduct judgment, and provide a bespoke tool to work through the process.

The intention is to provide a tool that is initially adopted in the UK and Holland initially, which can then be adopted and adapted by other European Union members. A prototype of the e-tool is developed in 2013 and more detailed trials an evaluation of the tool will take place during 2013-2014.

More information about the e-tool

The e-tool will be web-based, enabling businesses to make their own assessment of the status of a material or object. The e-tool will evaluate whether it is a by-product (Article 5 of the Waste Framework Directive) or whether end-of-waste status has been achieved (Article 6 of the Waste Framework Directive).

End-of-waste and byproduct decisions vary in their complexity, but essentially the material must not cause any adverse impacts on either the environment or human health. There must be a market for it and it must meet a certain standard or specification as appropriate. This e-tool will help users make robust decisions about many different types of waste-derived products.


The Is it waste tool has been developed and is available.

Further information about EQUAL.