Waste Shipment Regulation: adopted by EU

March 27th, 2024

The European Parliament has approved the Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) by a large majority with 587 MEPs voting in favour, eight against and 33 abstaining, thereby approving the agreement with the Council.

The regulation aims to better protect the environment and human health, while ensuring that products and materials are managed according to the principles of the circular economy.

Strengthening the Commission’s text, notably on transparency, monitoring and assessment of sound waste management in third countries, Parliament’s negotiating mandate proposes putting an end to plastic waste exports outside the EU and EFTA countries.

Also, the text bans shipments of all waste destined for disposal within the EU and would be allowed only in exceptional cases, for example, to facilitate cross-border shipments to the nearest suitable facility.

Intra-EU shipments of waste for recovery will still be allowed, while a pre-consent for a recovery facility issued by the competent authority in one Member State should be valid in all Member States.

In addition, the text provides for an export prohibition of non-hazardous waste to non-OECD countries, except where these countries indicate their willingness to receive that waste and demonstrate that they have put in place and implemented all necessary measures to ensure that such waste will be managed in an environmentally sound manner.

Prior to exporting waste, exporters would need to obtain written confirmation that the third party entrusted with the audit of the facility, which will manage the waste in the country of destination, is certified in accordance with EU or internationally recognised standards, such as ISO 19011:2018. Exporters would also have to provide the Commission with an audit report.

Following the plenary vote, the Council will have to formally approve the text before it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

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