Transfrontier Shipment of Waste

Background
A striking increase in waste generation caused by rapid economic growth and globalisation over the past decades was accompanied by an increase in global waste trade. Waste has economic value and can provide a useful replacement of natural resources in multiple industries. Several countries however are unable to dispose of all types of waste correctly due to various limitations hence the need to enable a system for shipments of waste. Illegal waste trade and dumping, particularly involving hazardous waste, are of major concern especially in third world countries. These Transfrontier Shipments (TFS) of waste inevitably pose a significant risk for human health and the environment, which require strict supervision and control.

Malta’s insularity and limited resources, present a considerable challenge to dispose of waste streams in an environmentally sound and efficient manner. Currently, Malta does not have the technical capacity or the infrastructure to dispose of waste properly, thus relies heavily on exports of waste. Nevertheless, as an EU Member State, Malta intends to fulfil its obligations by adopting a holistic strategic direction in respect of waste management for all national waste streams.

General Overview
The European Union (EU) maintains a system for the supervision and control of shipments of waste within its borders, with member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and with third countries party to the Basel Convention. This system is structured by Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste known as the Waste Shipment Regulations (WSR) whereby the Basel Convention and OECD Decision C(2001)107/FINAL​ are implemented into EC Law. The main objective of these regulations is to accomplish environmentally sound management to safeguard human health and the environment. Hence, Malta being an EU Member State, shipments of waste under Maltese jurisdiction are regulated by the WSR. These are transposed into national legislation by the Waste Management (Shipment of Waste) Regulations (S.L.549.65).

All stakeholders involved in the waste cycle need to ensure that waste is correctly managed at all stages. However, the duty of care for shipments of waste is assigned to the notifier which could be anyone in the following order: producers, holders, collectors, dealers and brokers.

Regulations automatically apply once waste loading commences until all listed recovery or disposal operations at the designated receiving facility are completed. Failure to abide by these regulations shall be considered a criminal offence punishable by law.

Waste Shipment Controls

Kindly follow these instructions to decide which control procedures shall apply.

Firstly, any individual planning to import or export a material or product to or from Malta must check if the shipment is actually waste. Since various countries retain different waste criteria it is important to check the waste classifications of all countries part of the planned shipping route. In case of disagreement between the competent authorities of dispatch and destination whether the subject shall be classified as waste or non-waste, the shipment must be considered as waste. Kindly refer to the the Waste Framework Directive for more information regarding waste classifications.

If a shipment qualifies as waste, its journey needs to be confirmed as legal. All shipments to or from EU countries must comply with the WSR. Likewise, waste shipment controls outside the EU have to be observed. Kindly follow the links below to access the lists of:

​​​EU Member States Click Here
​OECD Member Countries Click Here
​Competent authorities in EU Member States ​Click Here
​Competent authorities in OECD Member Countries Click Here
​Competent authorities for parties to the Basel Convention Click Here​

The following information is required to determine which (if any) waste shipment controls shall apply:
​​​Type of waste ​Waste can either be hazardous or non-hazardous, and depending on its nature it is assigned a six digit European Waste Catalogue code (Commission Decision 2000/532/EC). To identify whether the waste is hazardous or non-hazardous, one needs to check whether the waste displays any one or more of the hazardous properties listed in Schedule 3 of the Waste Regulations (S.L.549.63). The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) can help assess whether there are any hazardous components within a product by comparing ‘H codes’
Planned operations ​Shipments of waste are destined for either recovery or disposal operations listed in the EU Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC). Shipments of waste for recovery are allowed in most countries subject to different waste shipment controls depending on type of waste, country of dispatch and country of destination. However, shipments of waste for disposal are generally much more limited.
Country of destination and transit (if applicable) Malta imposes a ban on imports of waste for disposal. Maltese exports of waste for disposal are only allowed within EU and EFTA countries subject to Article 4 controls. Waste shipments for recovery can take place within EU member states and third countries outside the EU including non-OECD member states. In the case of imports and exports of waste for recovery, Article 4 controls shall apply unless the waste shipment qualifies under Article 18 controls.

Kindly refer to the guidelines below to determine whether a shipment of waste shall be subject to Article 18 controls:

​​Recovery in EU Member States Waste listed under a single entry in Annex III, IIIB or the mixtures of waste listed in Annex IIIA
Recovery in OECD countries outside the EU ​Waste listed under a single entry in Annex III or the mixtures of waste listed in Annex IIIA
Recovery in non-OECD country outside EU According to Article 36 of the WSR an export prohibition shall apply for certain types of waste (List A – Annex V Part 1). Regulation (EC) No 1418/2007 of 29 November 2007 concerning the export for recovery of certain waste listed in Annex III or IIIA to the WSR determines the controls which shall apply to waste listed in Annex III and IIIA to the WSR for each listed non-OECD country
​Shipments destined for laboratory analysis ​Article 18 controls shall apply for shipments of waste destined exclusively for laboratory analysis given that 25kg are not exceeded. Kindly refer to Article 4 Point 5 of the WSR
​Shipments within the Community with transit via third countries Further provisions for waste shipment controls for transit through third countries (non-EU members) are specified in Articles 31 and 32 of the WSR

In simpler terms waste shipments not qualifying under Article 18 controls shall be subject to Article 4 controls. Following the above set of instructions will assist the decision whether a waste shipment is prohibited, or if the Written Notification and Consent Procedure (Article 4 controls) or General Information Procedure (Article 18 controls) shall apply. As such, anyone interested in shipping waste must be fully aware of the obligations and special procedures relevant to the waste s/he intends to ship. Kindly contact the TFS Environmental Permitting team on tfs.permitting@era.org.mt for further information or assistance.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) reserves the right to determine which waste shipment controls shall apply (if any) in case of disagreements as per WSR.