Background

The Regulation (EC) 1013/2006 on shipment of waste (i.e. the Waste Shipment Regulation – WSR) is the European legal instrument that sets out the procedures and rules for the export from, import in and transit through the Union of waste. The WSR applies to hazardous waste, non-hazardous unlisted waste, and non-hazardous green-listed waste.

In line with Article 60(2a) of the WSR, the Commission carried out a review of the Regulation, through which it concluded that the WSR needs to be revised. Hence, on 17 November 2021, the European Commission adopted a new proposal to replace the WSR.

As established in the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan, the overarching objectives for the revision of the current WSR are to:

    1. Facilitate shipments of waste for reuse and recycling in the EU;
    2. Ensure that the EU does not export its waste challenges to third countries; and
    3. Tackle illegal waste shipments

Contents of the Proposal

The main novelties being proposed by the Commission are the following:

Shipments of waste within the EU:

    1. New restrictions on shipments of waste destined for disposal, such that they are only authorised in limited and well-justified cases;
    2. A full digitalisation of all procedures governing such shipments, including green-listed waste;
    3. Facilitating the use of fast-track procedures for shipments of waste intended for recovery to pre-consented facilities;
    4. Harmonised classification of waste at the EU level through the possibility to develop common criteria for waste classification;
    5. New provisions making it possible to streamline the calculation of financial guarantees at the EU level; and
    6. Specific binding criteria to differentiate between waste and used goods for specific commodities of concern, such as used vehicles and batteries, will be developed to tackle the issue of illegal shipments of waste presented as second-hand goods.

Exports of wastes outside the EU:

    1. Exporter to carry out independent audits, or acquire outcome of audits carried out by other EU exporters, for waste destined to facilities outside the EU;
    2. Exports to non-OECD countries would only be allowed if the non-OECD country has demonstrated to the Commission that it can recover the waste in an environmentally-sound manner (ESM); and
    3. Waste exports to OECD countries will be monitored by the Commission, with possibility of export being suspended where proper treatment and management cannot be guaranteed.

Measures to tackle illegal shipments of waste:

    1. The establishment of an EU waste shipment enforcement group;
    2. New Commission enforcement powers to supplement national enforcement efforts;
    3. Specific criteria on penalties

The Commission’s proposal and related impact assessment, as well as additional accompanying documentation and explanations on such proposal can be found here.

Consultation

Relevant stakeholders are being invited to provide their views on the practical implications that such changes would have at a national level. Comments are invited by email on era.policy@era.org.mt by Friday 17th June 2022.

A stakeholder online consultation session is being organised by ERA on Wednesday 25th May 2022 from 10:00 to 12:00.

During this meeting ERA will further explain the amendments being proposed by the Commission and seeking feedback on such a proposal from local stakeholders.

Interested stakeholders are being requested to register from this link.

10 May 2022

Presentation

The presentation delivered during the meeting may be accessed here.