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Waste shipment

Control of waste shipments is necessary to ensure an environmentally sound management of waste as well as safeguarding trading rights. In 2006-7, the EU undertook a major update of the control procedures for transporting waste within, into, through and out of the EU.

More on the EU waste shipment legislation and its amendments

Trade and Waste Shipment in a nutshell

  • Shipment of waste may involve hazardous wastes that can pose potential risks for human health and the environment. Therefore, the EU regulates waste shipments in a detailed manner to ensure sound health and environmental protection.
  • Non-hazardous waste represents valuable secondary raw materials. As natural resources are scarce, its importance is growing. It has become a major trading good.
  • A control mechanism for trade in waste has been established within the OECD. Furthermore, the EU can export non-hazardous waste also to the countries outside the OECD if these countries have agreed to it and if the waste will be properly recycled.


EU exports of non-hazardous waste to non-OECD Decision countries
Percent share in the overall EU exports of non-hazardous waste to non-OECD Decision countries, € billions
Year Total amount (in €bn) % share
2009 6.7 68.9
2010 8.7 59.3
2011 9.8 55.0
2012 9.3 54.3
2013 7.1 55.0
Ten main non-hazardous waste items exported from the EU to non-OECD countries in 2013:

Percent share of EU non-hazardous waste exports to non-OECD countries

  1. 28.9 copper waste and scrap
  2. 18.8 ferrous waste and scrap
  3. 14.9 aluminium waste and scrap
  4. 8.3 waste and scrap unbleached craft paper/paperboard
  5. 5.5 waste, parings and scrap of polymers of ethylene
  6. 4.4 waste and scrap of alloy steel other than stainless steel
  7. 4.1 waste and scrap of stainless steel
  8. 3.1 waste and scrap of paper/paperboard other than unbleached craft one and that made mainly of bleached chemical pulp or mechanical pulp
  9. 1.7 waste and scrap of gold
  10. 1.5 waste and scrap of cast iron
Ten main non-OECD destinations for EU exports of non-hazardous waste in 2011:

Percent share of the EU non-hazardous waste exports to non-OECD countries

Non-OECD destinations for EU exports of non-hazardous waste in 2013
Country Percentage
China 32.5
India 8.4
Egypt 3.2
Hong Kong 2.8
Pakistan 1.7
Indonesia 1.1
Taiwan 0.8
Vietnam 0.8
Morocco 0.5
Serbia 0.4

EU Trade policy and Waste Shipment

Control procedures for exporting non-hazardous waste for recycling (recovery) from the EU to non-OECD countries are set by Regulation 1418/2007. The Regulation was established on the basis of information from partner countries regarding their control procedures for imports of non-hazardous wastes. The Regulation is updated periodically, usually once a year.

A non-OECD country can inform the EU (Directorate-General for Trade) on changes in its import control procedures for non-hazardous waste, preferably through completing dedicated questionnaires, at any time. This information will be included in the next periodical update.

Moreover, in order to ensure maximum accuracy and completeness of the Regulation, the EU asked in 2013 all non-OECD countries to fill in the dedicated questionnaires. Replies received in response to this request were reflected in the latest update of the Regulation applying as from mid-July 2014.