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Marco Antonio Saetti and Andrea Frediani

European Union
Type of court
International court
Jan 15, 2004
Court name
European Court of Justice
Seat of court
Gulmann, C.
Puissochet, J.-P.
Macken, F.
Reference number
Waste & hazardous substances
Waste non-domestic sources Waste disposal
The Tribunale di Gela (District Court, Gela) referred to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling under Article 234 EC questions on the interpretation of Articles 1(a) and (f), 2(1)(b) and 4 of Council Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste, as amended by Council Directive 91/156/EEC of 18 March 1991. Those questions were raised in the course of criminal proceedings against Mr Saetti and Mr Frediani, the director and former director respectively of the Gela oil refinery operated by AGIP Petroli SpA, who were accused inter alia of having failed to comply with Italian legislation on waste. The Court emphasized that the scope of the concept of waste depended on the meaning of the term discard used in Article 1(a) of Directive 75/442. It decided that goods, materials or raw materials resulting from a manufacturing or extraction process which was not primarily intended to produce that item could be regarded not as a residue but as a by-product which the undertaking did not wish to discard, within the meaning of the first paragraph of Article 1(a), but intended to exploit or market on terms which were advantageous to it. However, having regard to the obligation to interpret the concept of waste widely in order to limit its inherent risks and pollution, recourse to the reasoning applicable to by-products should be confined to situations in which the further use of goods, materials or raw materials was not a mere possibility but a certainty, without any prior processing, and as an integral part of the production process. In addition to the criterion of whether a substance constituted a production residue, a second relevant criterion for determining whether or not that substance was waste for the purposes of Directive 75/442 was thus the likelihood that that substance would be further used without any prior processing. If, in addition to the mere possibility of further use of the substance, there was also a financial advantage to the holder in so doing, the likelihood of such further use was high. In such circumstances, the substance in question had no longer to be regarded as a burden which its holder sought to discard, but as a genuine product. Petroleum coke, which was one of the numerous substances resulting from the refining of petroleum, was intentionally produced at the Gela refinery. Petroleum coke was widely used as fuel in the cement and steel industry and for power plants. The Court therefore held that petroleum coke which was produced intentionally or in the course of producing other petroleum fuels in an oil refinery and was certain to be used as fuel to meet the energy needs of the refinery and those of other industries did not constitute waste within the meaning of Directive 75/442.
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Council Directive 91/156/EEC amending Directive 75/442/EEC on waste.

Legislation | European Union | 1991

Keyword: Pollution control, Waste disposal, Waste prevention, Recycling/reuse, Polluter pays principle, Solid waste, Waste management