EU Negotiators Reach Agreement on Waste Shipments

EU negotiators reach agreement on waste shipments; recyclers emphasise need to maintain access to global markets.

Negotiators from the EU Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on the revision of the Waste Shipments Regulation (WSR), exactly two years after the Commission launched its proposal. The deal reached intends to ensure responsible waste management and prevent the export of pollution to third countries.

EuRIC welcomes the focus on tackling illegal waste shipments, which, according to EU Commission, represent 15-30% of all waste shipments and a dark market of over €10 billion, and stresses the following points in line with its long-standing position on the proposal:

EuRIC supports the overarching objective of “ensuring that the EU does not export its waste challenges to third countries”. However, it’s essential to prevent unnecessary restrictions on exporting recycled raw materials classified as non-hazardous waste, especially for resource streams with insufficient demand in the EU. Replacing extracted raw materials with recycled ones is key to transitioning towards a circular and climate-neutral economy, both within and outside Europe.

Concerning the stringent requirements on plastics waste exports, EuRIC is awaiting more details to assess their alignment with the EU’s legal obligations and their impact on the recycling industry. Any excessive administrative burdens on third countries could severely affect Europe’s recycling industry and strategic raw materials autonomy. On the other hand, EuRIC welcomes the decision to continue intra-EU shipments of waste for recovery operations, subject to less stringent procedures, as set out in the general information requirements, regarding the green-listed waste.

EuRIC reiterates its longstanding position to facilitate intra-EU waste shipments for material recovery purposes without curbing access to international markets. This approach is essential for balancing supply and demand, thus preserving the competitiveness of the European recycling industry and ensuring its ability to supply circular materials to circular value chains both in Europe and globally.

EuRIC will issue a comprehensive statement on the agreement’s details after the complete text is available and has been thoroughly analysed.

Source: EuRIC (Brussels, November 17, 2023)