Guidelines for Framework Legislation for Integrated Waste Management

The purpose of these Guidelines is to support countries with clear advice for their efforts to introduce or enhance their waste management legislation.  The principles these the Guidelines are based on consider ways that waste can be diverted from release into the environment while providing for economic development that enhances social development to reinforce good environmental management within a supportive governance framework.

The Guidelines are not designed to be an exhaustive list of legislation from around the world. Instead, the Guidelines introduce a legislative framework for integrated waste management in Part 1, illustrated by some relevant examples in Part 2. The examples in Part 2 are chosen from the existing and tested practice (legislation), with the intent to demonstrate how some countries manage their legislative issues, and to provide discussion on aspects of different approaches. It is up to each country to devise legislation that is appropriate to their own situation. A wholesale ‘cut and paste’ is not recommended since it has been shown that it is doomed to failure. It is paramount that each country embarking on development of the legislation goes through a process of establishing:

  • The reason for development of the legislation (Why do we need it?)
  • The purpose of the legislation (What do we want to achieve?)
  • The best approach as appropriate for that country (How do we frame it best for OUR situation?) It is hoped that the examples presented in part 2 might help to avoid the pitfalls that other countries have experienced in their journey towards sustainable waste management and a circular economy.

These legislative framework Guidelines can be used by countries at any stage of development of their legislative programme, from the very initial move from ‘dumping to disposal’, through to implementing a circular economy. The Guidelines are presented in a way that mirrors sections commonly found in this type of legislation.

Date Published

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Resource Type



Environmental Law, Waste Management


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)