Waste shipment statistics

Data extracted on 19 February 2018. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: December 2018.

This article presents statistics on transboundary waste shipments in the European Union (EU).

In the EU, the transboundary shipments of waste are regulated by Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 on shipments of waste, commonly referred to as the Waste Shipment Regulation (WShipR). It implements the Basel Convention which bans exports of hazardous waste from OECD to non-OECD countries. According to the WShipR, all hazardous waste, as well as some problematic waste streams and other wastes defined by the WShipR, must be notified to the authorities before it is allowed to be shipped across borders. The terms 'export' and 'import' are used for transboundary waste shipments both within the EU and to other OECD countries.

Table 1: Shipment of hazardous waste from EU Member States (1 000 tonnes), 2001-2015
Source: Eurostat

Transboundary shipments of waste.png Map 1: Flow map transboundary waste shipments, 2015
Click on the map for an interactive view of the data.

Table 2: Shipment of hazardous waste from EU Member States (kg per capita), 2001-2015
Source: Eurostat
Figure 1:Treatment of hazardous waste shipped from EU to either other EU Member States or out of the EU 2001-2015
Source: Eurostat
Figure 2: Top treatment of hazardous waste exported by EU Member States (1000 tonnes), 2001-2015
Source: Eurostat
Table 3: Origin and destiny of hazardous waste transboundary shipped from EU Member States (1 000 tonnes), 2001-2015
Source: Eurostat
Table 4: Export of all notified waste from EU Member States (1 000 tonnes), 2001-2015
Source: Eurostat


Main statistical findings

The main findings based on the amounts of shipped waste out of the Member States are described below.

  • Hazardous waste is primarily shipped within EU Member States; practically, no shipments of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries were registered since 2010
  • The period from 2001 to 2007 is characterised by growing shipments of hazardous waste both for disposal and recovery. From 2007 to 2015 there has been a 25 % decrease due to the financial and economic crisis in 2008. The total development from 2001 to 2015 is a sign that the EU is increasingly acting as a single market.
  • Recycling/reclamation of metals and metal compounds and incineration with and without energy recovery dominates the treatment of shipped hazardous waste, but different types of recycling have increased. Landfilling of hazardous waste exported by EU Member States is stable

Liechtenstein and Norway are for the first time, included in the presented data, cf. tables 1, 2 and 4.

Shipments of hazardous waste - total amount and per capita

Between 2001 and 2015, the amount of hazardous waste shipments from EU Member States to other EU Member States or out of the EU has increased by 53 %, from 3.99 million tonnes in 2001 to 6.0 million tonnes in 2015, although shipments peaked in 2007 at 8.1 million tonnes. There was an increase of 23 % from 2012 to 2013, largely due to increased export from Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Sweden and Italy showed the largest decrease of hazardous waste shipments during this period. From 2013 to 2014 there was a decrease of 7 %, largely due to reduced exports from France and United Kingdom (see Table 1).

23 Member States have increased their shipments from 2001 to 2015. France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom especially, have seen a large increase in waste exports: Germany mainly due to the increase from 2012 to 2014 and the United Kingdom mainly due to the increase from 2012 to 2013. The Netherlands had a large fall in exported hazardous waste from 2009 to 2014. This decrease can be partly explained by changes in the classification of the reported waste: some wastes reported earlier as hazardous were in fact non-hazardous.

On a per capita basis, Luxembourg is at the top of the table with an export of about 475kg[1] in 2015 followed by Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland with 61 kg/capita, 53 kg/capita, 52 kg/capita and 51 kg/capita respectively. Almost half of the EU Member States had exports of less than 10 kg per capita. (see Table 2).

The interactive flow map on transboundary waste shipment shows among others the amounts of waste shipped out of each of the EU Member States (see Map1).

Treatment of exported hazardous waste

The amounts of shipped hazardous waste for disposal have increased from 600 000 tonnes in 2001 to 1.5 million tonnes in 2015, and the amounts for recovery increased from about 3.3 million to 4.6 million tonnes (see Figure 1).

As a percentage of the total, disposal has increased from 16 % in 2001 to 24 % in 2015; correspondingly, the share for recovery has declined from 82 % to 76 % over the same period. However, since 2011 the amounts going to disposal have decreased and the amounts to recovery have increased.

The precise treatment of the hazardous waste must be reported by Member States. The treatment of waste is broken down by recovery and disposal operations listed in Annexes I and II to the Waste Framework Directive 2008/1998. Incineration with and without energy recovery (codes R1 and D10, respectively, according to the Directive) dominates, accounting for 1.2 million tonnes, or about 20 % of the exported hazardous waste in 2015 (cf. Figure 2). The large difference of hazardous waste exported between 2009 and the following years for incineration can be explained by the change in the classification of Dutch waste. The changed classification resulted in an increase in the amount of non-hazardous waste shipped for incineration in the EU from 1.1 million tonnes in 2009 to 7.5 million tonnes in 2015.

In 2015 about 650 000 tonnes of hazardous waste were incinerated with energy recovery and 561 000 tonnes without energy recovery. Both treatment types increased since 2001, from 554 000 tonnes for incineration with energy recovery and from 308 000 tonnes for incineration without energy recovery. Large increases have also shown in other types of treatment including recycling/reclamation of metals (R4) and recycling/reclamation of inorganic materials (R5). From 2001, recycling and reclamation of metals (R4) increased from 835 000 tonnes to 1.3 million in 2015. Recycling/reclamation of inorganic materials (R5) increased from 400 000 tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes in 2007, and then decreased to 810 000 tonnes in 2014. The export of hazardous waste for recycling and reclamation of organic substances which are not used as solvents (R3) decreased from approximately 710 000 tonnes in 2001 to 110 000 tonnes in 2015. Among the disposal activities, large increases occurred for landfilling (D1). Landfilling increased between 2001 and 2009 from 120 000 to 680 000 tonnes and has since decreased to 530 000 tonnes in 2015.

The detailed table corresponding to figure 2 Microsoft Excel 2010 Logo.png is available here.

Shipments of hazardous waste within and out of the EU

In 2015 approximately 91 % of the hazardous waste exports in the EU-28 were shipped to other EU Member States and 86 % were sent from EU-15 Member States to other EU-15 Member States (cf. Table 3).

The exports from EU-15 Member States to EFTA countries decreased from 171 000tonnes in 2001 to 59 000 tonnes in 2005 and inreased to 375 000 tonnes in 2015. A small amount of hazardous waste has been exported to non-OECD countries from 2001 to 2009. This conclusion is based on the reporting from Member States that have used the classification "national classified hazardous waste" for all waste that could not be classified under one of the Basel Convention’s Y-codes (Y1 to Y47).

However, hazardous waste (as defined by the European List of Waste) has, in these cases, not been transported out of the EU to non-OECD countries. This illustrates a classification problem encountered by many Member States. Within the EU, waste is predominately classified according to the European List of Waste and as there is no one-to-one relation between the European List of Waste codes and the Basel-codes Member States have to find solutions for waste that cannot be classified by one of the Y-codes in the Basel report.

Consequently, no hazardous waste exports to non-OECD countries have been recorded since 2010.

Export of all notified waste, in tonnes

Export of all notified waste (hazardous and non-hazardous), has tripled in the EU, from 6.3 million tonnes in 2001 to 19.3 million tonnes in 2015 (cf. Table 4). In addition to hazardous waste, notified waste includes mixed household waste, residues from the incineration of household wastes and certain other waste types, which according to the WShipR must be notified before shipment.

The amount of notified waste has grown quite steadily since 2005 with the exception of the crisis years 2009 and 2010. Moreover, it dropped in 2012 because Finland has re-classified iron-oxide flows to China from waste to product, and therefore no longer notifies these shipments. The largest exporters are the United Kingdom followed by Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy and Austria. Austria had a very large increase in 2009 mainly due to the inclusion of excavated soil from an infrastructure project in the province of Vorarlberg.

Context

According to the WShipR, all hazardous waste as well as some problematic waste streams and other wastes defined by the WShipR, must be notified to the authorities before it is allowed to be transboundary shipped. Member States are required to submit to the Commission before the end of each calendar year a report for the previous year on the amounts of notified transboundary shipped waste and the amount of hazardous waste generated. The submitted data regarding transboundary shipments of waste covers both waste shipped out of and into the EU Member States, and the latest data covers 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. By November 2017, all of the Member States had reported data for 2015.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Database

Dedicated section

Source data for tables, figures and maps on this page (MS Excel)

Other information

External links

  • European Commission - DG Environment - Commission report of 7 August 2012 on the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 of 1 February 1993 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community, and on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste - Generation, treatment and transboundary shipment of hazardous waste and other waste in the Member States of the European Union (2007-2009) COM(2012) 448 Final - not published in the Official Journal. Annex to this report: Part 1 pdf ~ 1,1M) and Part 2 (pdf ~ 1M) (Commission staff working document SWD(2012) 244 final of 7 August 2012)
  • European Commission - DG Environment - Commission report of 24 June 2009 (COM(2009) 282 final) on the implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 of 1 February 1993 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community
  • European Environment Agency
Movements of waste across the EU`s internal and external borders (EEA Report 7/2012)
Material resources and waste
Waste and material resources
Waste without borders in the EU? (EEA Report 1/2009)
  • European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ETC/SCP)
Transboundary shipments of waste in the European Union. Reflections on data, environmental impacts and drivers (Working Paper 2/2012)
Transboundary Shipment of Waste (Data Report)
Transboundary shipments of waste in the EU (Technical Report 2008/1)

Notes

  1. Historically Luxembourg exported around 150 to- 200 kg per capita of hazardous waste. In 2015, two very large shipments of hazardous waste were exported to Germany for disposal and this is responsible for the high 2015 figure