MEPs push for tighter waste shipment rules


The European Parliament has adopted its negotiating position for talks with EU governments on a new law to revise EU procedures and control measures for waste shipments.

The revised legislation aims to protect the environment and human health more effectively while taking “full advantage of the opportunities” provided by waste to achieve the EU’s goals of a zero-pollution and circular economy.

With the adopted text, MEPs support explicitly banning shipments of all wastes destined for disposal within the EU, except if authorised in limited and “well-justified” cases. EU exports of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries would also be prohibited under the adopted text.

Exporting non-hazardous waste for recovery would be allowed only to non-OECD countries that give consent and demonstrate their ability to treat this waste sustainably. The European Parliament says MEPs also want to ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries and to phase out its export to OECD countries within four years.

We must turn waste into resources in the common market.

Rapporteur Pernille Weiss (EPP, DK), said: “Our ambitious position in the coming negotiations with member states has just been endorsed by a broad majority in plenary.

“We must turn waste into resources in the common market, and thereby take better care of our environment and competitiveness. The new rules will also make it easier for us to combat waste crime inside and outside the EU.

“And, with the export ban on plastic waste that we suggest, we are pushing for a much more innovative and circular economy wherever plastic is involved. That is a true win for the next generations.”

The Parliament has also called for the creation of an EU risk-based targeting mechanism to guide EU countries that carry out inspections to prevent and detect illegal shipments of waste.

Following the plenary debate on Monday (16 January), the report was adopted Tuesday (17 January) with 594 votes in favour, 5 against and 43 abstentions.

In terms of exports, we must avoid a de facto ban, and work with a more nuanced waste-stream-specific approach.

Commenting on the development, Claudia Mensi, FEAD President, said: “While we are pleased with the steps taken by the European Parliament towards an EU single market for waste, it is important to recognise that it was also a missed opportunity for needed improvements, such as the reinforcement of pre-consented facilities.

“In terms of exports, we must avoid a de facto ban, and work with a more nuanced waste-stream-specific approach and reasonable administrative burdens for third countries.

“Non-hazardous ‘green listed’ waste is a commodity and, when there is no sufficient demand in the EU, it must continue to be possible to ship it outside the EU, where it will be reincorporated in manufacturing processes.”

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