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EU Waste Shipment Regulation: one step closer to becoming law

  • 29 February 2024

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On 27 February, the European Parliament voted on its final approval of the review of the Waste Shipment Regulation, which was adopted by a large majority. The next step in the EU legislative process is its ratification by the European Council, which is likely to happen in the coming weeks. After that, it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will then apply to all EU member states. However, a transitional period of three years is given before the new regulation’s export rules for non-OECD countries replaces the 2006 Waste Shipments Regulation.

While supporting the intended improvement of combatting illegal waste shipments by enhancing digital procedures, BIR has always been very vocal about the heavy implications this regulation has for the global trade in recyclables. Strict EU waste export rules risk disrupting global recycling markets, hindering investment and innovation, creating trade barriers, and ultimately damaging global efforts towards a circular economy. Importantly, this stems from a failure to differentiate between material streams and markets that are paramount for recycling from a regulatory perspective. Additionally, the imposition of increased trade barriers and layers of bureaucracy for both OECD and non-OECD partners will likely lead to less efficient supply chains for the recycling industry.

BIR reiterates that it fully supports regulations that aim at the protection of both human health and the environment, but also highlights that raw materials from recycling should be allowed to play their important part in an equitable, global move towards a circular economy and decarbonisation. BIR will continue to engage with stakeholders and multilateral forums throughout the remainder of the ratification and enforcement process, as well as through the future implementation of the regulation.