Posted on 30/03/2018 in category Legislation

Update on legislative/environmental matters

At the United Nations: UN-EP Basel Convention - Review of Annexes

Jacinthe Seguin (Canada) and Joost Meijer (Chile) co-chaired the first meeting of the Expert Working Group on the review of Annexes I, III, IV and related aspects of Annex IX, as entrusted to it by the 13th Conference of the Parties in the middle of last year. BIR thanks the government of Japan for its financial support to hold the meeting.

BIR Trade & Environment Director Ross Bartley represented BIR’s interests while Sims Recycling Solutions and ISRI were represented by, respectively, Patricia Whiting and Adina Renee Adler. Three representatives of the electronics industry attended as observers, along with governments as Parties from the five UN regions.

The group focused its deliberations on the review of Annex IV and related aspects of Annex IX (B1110) by considering proposals put forward by Parties and the group aimed at improving, updating and clarifying the description of disposal operations in Annex IV and incorporating additional disposal operations that occur in practice. In this latter regard, the BIR intends that its members’ manual and mechanical operations - such as dismantling, sorting, compacting, pelletising and shredding - are correctly allocated in Annex IV as recovery and recycling operations.

The scope of the UN-EP Basel Convention is principally determined by three elements: its wide (1) definition of Waste; that (2) the Waste to be controlled contains Annex I Constituents; and that (3) the wastes exhibit Annex III Hazardous Characteristics.

It follows that making additions to Annex I and/or Annex III may exponentially increase the number of hazardous wastes controlled by the Convention. Proposals for additions to Annex I include but are not limited to: aluminium and aluminium compounds; copper in elemental form; nickel and nickel compounds; silver and silver compounds; tin and tin compounds; zinc in elemental form; persistent organic pollutants; ozone-depleting substances; tyres; and wastes from production and use of plastic products. Furthermore, there are many proposals for additions to Annex III Hazardous Characteristics, such as: bioaccumulating substances in humans; combustible substances or wastes; cytotoxic substances; endocrine disruptors; flammable and inflammable gases; and genotoxic substances.

BIR warns that listing new end-of-life goods, materials or substances in “Annex I: Categories of wastes to be controlled” when coupled with an Annex III Hazardous Characteristic will classify them as Hazardous Wastes under Article 1(1)(a) of the Convention. That classification would lead to the prohibition of their transboundary movements for recovery and recycling operations from States listed in Annex VII to States not listed in Annex VII if the “Basel Ban Amendment” Decision III/1 comes into force. Since 1997 the EU has enforced the “Basel Ban”, and since 2011 there have been and still are great efforts by Parties, BCRCCs, the BRS Secretariat and others to facilitate the entry into force of the Ban Amendment.

The outcomes of the meeting will be submitted to the eleventh meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (September 3-6 2018) for its consideration.