Anne Scheinberg, Jelena Nesić, Rachel Savain, Pietro Luppi, Portia Sinnott, Flaviu Petean, Flaviu Pop

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THE European Union (EU) hosts some of the world’s most developed waste management systems and an ambitious policy commitment to the Circular Economy. The existence of informal recycling and re-use activities in Europe has been vigorously denied until quite recently, and remains a very challenging subject for the European solid waste management sector, as well as for European government and private institutions. In countries ranging from Malta to Macedonia and from France to Turkey, informal recyclers excluded from legal recycling niches increasingly collide with formalised and controlled EU approaches to urban waste management, packaging recovery schemes, formal re-use enterprises, and extended producer responsibility systems.

This review focuses on the period from 2004 through the first half of 2016. The 78 sources on European (and neighbouring) informal recycling and re-use are contextualised with global sources and experience. The articles focus on informal recovery in and at the borders of the European Union, document the conflicts and collisions, and elaborate some constructive approaches towards legalisation, integration, and reconciliation. The overarching recommendation, to locate the issue of informal recovery and integration in the framework of the European Circular Economy Package, is supported by four specific pillars of an integration strategy: documentation, legalisation, occupational and enterprise recognition, and preparation for structural integration.


Informal Recycling and Re-use, Europe, Circular Economy, Balkans and New EU, Informal Integration, Extended Producer Responsibility

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