European Commission proposes stricter waste exporting rules
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European Commission proposes stricter waste exporting rules

The European Commission Wednesday proposed a new regulation to curb the export of waste to third-party countries.

In a statement, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said, “our new rules to govern waste shipments will boost the circular economy and ensure that waste exports do not harm the environment or human health elsewhere.” The regulation covers all waste, not just those forms of waste that are traditionally understood as hazardous.

Under the new regulation, European nations will be encouraged to export waste only to countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Shipments will be supervised and suspended if they “generate serious environmental problems” in the destination country. Exports to non-OECD countries will be further restricted. 

The regulation would allow more efficient tracking and documentation of waste shipments and “ensure that export only takes place when there are guarantees that the waste is managed in an environmentally sound manner.” According to the Commission, illegal waste shipments are “one of the most serious forms of environmental crime” and amount to 30 percent of all global waste shipments.

The waste shipment provisions would take effect three years after the regulation is passed. The Commission believes the delay will allow European nations to reduce overall waste and prepare “more sustainable treatment” of necessary waste.