Municipal waste – MSW – may be generated from numerous sources and that its composition is highly heterogeneous formed by a number of different fractions:

Diagram showing the definition of Municipal waste


Only recently, specific EU targets for MSW have been set under the Waste Framework Directive, which establishes not only a minimum rate for recycling of MSW, but also number of obligations in relation to separate collection of several waste fractions included within this complex waste streams, namely:

  • Recyclables (i.e. paper and cardboard, metal, plastic and glass);
  • Bio-waste;
  • Textiles; and
  • Hazardous waste streams generated by households, such as WEEE, batteries or medicines.

On the other hand, the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC also requires the diversion of MSW from landfills as a measure to reduce land use impacts.

Diagram describing the origins of municipal waste