Commission adopts new proposal to innovate sustainable waste management

Under the revised Regulation on waste shipments, the Commission delivers on the circular economy and zero pollution ambitions by proposing stronger rules on waste exports, a more efficient system for the circulation of waste as a resource and determined action against waste trafficking.

Waste exports to non-OECD countries will be restricted and only allowed if third countries are willing to receive certain wastes and are able to manage them sustainably. Waste shipments to OECD countries will be monitored and can be suspended if they generate serious environmental problems in the country of destination. Under the proposal, all EU companies that export waste outside the EU should ensure that the facilities receiving their waste are subject to an independent audit showing that they manage this waste in an environmentally sound manner.

Within the EU, the Commission is proposing to simplify the established procedures considerably, facilitating waste to re-enter the circular economy, without lowering the necessary level of control. This helps to reduce the EU’s dependence on primary raw materials and supports innovation and the decarbonisation of EU industry to meet the EU’s climate objectives. The new rules are also bringing waste shipments to the digital era by introducing electronic exchange of documentation.

The Regulation on waste shipments further strengthens action against waste trafficking, one of the most serious forms of environmental crime as illegal shipments potentially comprise up to 30% of waste shipments worth €9.5 billion annually. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the enforcement regime includes setting up an EU Waste Shipment Enforcement Group, empowering the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF to support transnational investigations by EU Member States on waste trafficking, and providing stronger rules on administrative penalties.


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