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Waste shipments



Economic growth and globalization in the last decades have led to a worldwide increase of waste transports across borders, whether on the road, by railway or ship. While traded wastes may often have a positive economic value and replace natural resources in industrial facilities, waste transports sometimes involve hazardous materials which can create risks for human health and the environment. The uncontrolled movement of toxic wastes from the Seveso incident to France in 1982, but also several cases where such wastes from Europe were exported and dumped in developing countries, showed the need for more supervision and control.

To address the problem of uncontrolled transport of waste, Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste lays down procedures for the transboundary shipments (i.e. transport) of waste. This Regulation implements into EU law the provisions of the "Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal" as well as the OECD Decision. The Regulation includes a ban on the export of hazardous wastes to non-OECD countries ("Basel ban") as well as a ban on the export of waste for disposal.

Different regimes apply to shipments of wastes for disposal and for recovery, as well as to hazardous and "green-listed" non-hazardous wastes. The shipment of hazardous wastes and of wastes destined for disposal is generally subject to notification procedures with the prior written consent of all relevant authorities of dispatch, transit and destination. However, as a rule, the shipment of “green-listed” wastes for recovery within the EU and OECD does not require the consent of the authorities.

Despite the Regulation, illegal shipments of waste are still a significant problem (some estimates suggest that the overall non-compliance rate with the Regulation could be around 25 %). To strengthen Member States' inspection systems, the Regulation was amended in 2014 through Regulation (EU) No 660/2014 of 15 May 2014. Member States are required to apply the new changes in the years 2016/17.