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EU: Council and Parliament Strike Tentative Deal on Waste Shipment

2024-02-19

The Council and the European Parliament negotiators have tentatively agreed on a political deal to revamp regulations controlling waste shipments. The updated rules aim to limit troublesome waste exports outside the EU, align shipment procedures with circular economy goals, and strengthen enforcement measures.


The regulation now includes climate neutrality and circular economy objectives. It outright bans sending waste within the EU for disposal, permitting exceptions only in strict situations. For intra-EU shipments intended for recovery operations, exporters must provide advance written notification and obtain consent (referred to as 'PIC'). There's a special exemption for laboratory analysis waste weighing under 250 kg. Through the 'PIC' process, EU exporters need confirmation from the relevant countries before export. To enhance efficiency, a centralized electronic system simplifies document submission and exchange, with agreed-upon timelines.


The regulation keeps the ban on exporting waste for disposal to third countries and exporting hazardous waste for recovery in non-OECD nations. It introduces compulsory audits of waste management facilities in destination countries, conducted by independent entities. The Commission will create a register of audited facilities to aid waste exporters.


Exports of plastic waste
Strict regulations are implemented for exporting non-hazardous plastic waste (B3011) to non-OECD countries. Non-OECD nations can seek EU plastic waste imports, but only if they meet stringent standards. The Commission has the authority to lift the export ban for compliant countries. Exporting non-hazardous plastic waste to OECD countries is allowed, following the 'PIC' notification procedure. The Commission is responsible for thorough monitoring to prevent adverse environmental and health impacts.


Member states are encouraged to establish penalties for regulation violations, including fines and the revocation or temporary suspension of relevant authorizations. Effective cooperation mechanisms at national and international levels are mandated, including the creation of a waste shipment enforcement group to enhance collaboration between member states.


The provisional agreement will undergo endorsement by the Council's representatives and the Parliament's environment committee. Formal adoption by both institutions, following legal-linguistic revision, is necessary before publication in the EU's Official Journal.


Background:
The waste shipment regulation aligns with the principles of the Basel Convention and OECD decisions. First implemented in 2006, the regulation encountered challenges, resulting in a significant rise in waste exports. The Commission initiated the proposal to revise the regulation in November 2021, and the European Parliament and Council positions were defined in January and March 2023, respectively.

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