Identifying the legal opportunities and obstacles to sustainable materials
PhD student: Mr T.J. de Römph
Promotors: Prof G. van Calster, B. Vanheusden
Duration: 1/11/2012 - 31/10/2016
PhD defence: Leuven, 23/6/2018
Due to the living standard in western States and in an increasing number of developing States
desiring the same welfare and consumption levels, and the ever growing world population, pressures on resources
have increased tremendously and will continue to increase under current forecasts. The EU has not been idle since
the global concern of resource scarcity increased; it is trying to enhance its ecological resilience and transform its
economy into a sustainable green economy. In the light of the transition towards a more sustainable management of
materials, the purpose of my Ph.D. is to identify the legal opportunities and obstacles to sustainable materials
management in EU law, during the entire life-cycle of a material. No such integrated and comprehensive study of the
overall legal framework for SMM exists as yet. The main research question reads: Does EU law as it stands supports
or inhibits sustainable materials management, and what can be done to address any such inhibition? The research
addresses the three main phases of a materials life-cycle: 1) production and consumption; 2) waste; and 3) resource.
In addition, the shipment of waste is examined as well. In 3 phase 1), legal opportunities/barriers are formed by
design and information requirements. In phase 2), the question arises when a material becomes waste and when it
ceases to be waste. Phase 3) covers the period when waste has ceased to be waste and becomes a resource once
again; implications occur with regard to the obliged information requirements for the use these materials.
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