Hazardous waste exports: Report shows increase in quantity and more detections of illegal shipments

The Commission has published the implementation report of the Waste Shipment Regulation for 2016 to 2019 showing data and analysis on the control of shipments of waste both inside the EU, and with third countries. The report reveals two major trends. Firstly, although the amount of notified waste remained stable throughout the reporting period, the total amount of hazardous waste shipped both within and outside of the EU more than doubled from 3.9 million tonnes in 2001 to 8.1 million tonnes in 2019. The large majority of these shipments take place within the EU, and the limited volume exported from the EU to third countries is going to OECD countries. Secondly, the amount of illegal shipments that are detected by Member States’ inspections is increasing.

Such reports are drawn by the Commission every three years based on reports that every Member State submits on the implementation of the international Basel Convention on hazardous waste, to which the EU is party. Today’s findings support the conclusions of the evaluation of the current regulation, that the Commission published in January 2020 and that led to the Commission’s proposal to revise the current rules on waste shipments. The proposal under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council has three main goals: ensuring that the EU does not export its waste challenges to third countries; making it easier to transport waste for recycling and reuse in the EU; and better tackling illegal waste shipments.