Transboundary Waste Shipments in European Union

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Last Updated: April 14, 2015
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In the European Union, the key legislative instrument regarding transboundary movement of waste, including electronic waste, is Regulation 1013/2006 on Shipment of Waste (the "Regulation"). This Regulation implements under EU law the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Shipment of Hazardous Waste (the "Basel Convention") and the OECD Decision on the Transfrontier Movement of Waste for Recovery the "OECD Decision").

The regulation applies to shipments of waste within, into, and out of the EC and imposes the following key requirements:

  • Control procedure:
    • The information procedure applies to non-hazardous ("Green List") waste shipped for recovery and any waste shipped for laboratory purposes; and
    • The prior written notification and consent procedure ("Notification Procedure") applies to Green List waste shipped for disposal and all shipment of hazardous waste ("Amber List").
  • Environmental management obligation: All companies involved in a waste shipment must ensure that they take all necessary measures in order that waste is managed in an environmentally sound manner.
  • Take-back obligation: If a shipment cannot be completed (including waste disposal) or is contrary to the Waste Shipment Regulation, the notifier must take back the waste.
  • Contract and certificate: The company responsible for the waste shipment must have a contract in place with the consignee of the waste. This contract must include an obligation to take-back any waste in case a shipment cannot be completed or is contrary to the Waste Shipment Regulation. In case the Notification Procedure applies, the contract must also require the waste management facility to issue a certificate that the waste was recovered or disposed of in accordance with the Waste Shipment Regulation.
  • Financial guarantee: In case the Notification Procedure applies, the company responsible for the waste shipment must provide a financial guarantee.
  • Export and import bans: The Regulation sets forth certain export and import bans.
  • Waste mixing ban: It is prohibited to mix waste during shipment.
  • Recordkeeping: Compliance documents must be kept for at least three years from the date when the shipment started.

In addition, the WEEE-2 Directive imposes the following requirements:

  • Documentary obligations: Items exported as "used EEE" are subject to additional evidentiary obligations to avoid circumventing requirements of the Waste Shipment Regulation.
Member States may require that any communication be addressed in their official language(s) and are responsible for enforcing the Regulation and the WEEE-2 Directive. National sanctions are provided under each country report on Transboundary Waste Shipments.


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