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Beyond EU Borders: EU's Roadmap for Waste Transport Regulation

Laws & regulations
Did you know nearly 70 million tonnes of waste are shipped between EU countries each year?
70 Million tonnes could fill approximately 14,5 footbal fields. Not to mention the CO2 emissions required for its transport. The fashion industry's high resource consumption worsens climate change. To foster sustainability and responsibility, tackling fashion waste is crucial!

This is where Transport of Waste regulations play a pivotal role. They guarantee safe and secure transportation of waste to appropriate facilities for disposal or recycling.

In March 2023, the European Commission released the implementation report of the Waste Shipment Regulation. This regulation restricts waste export to non-OECD countries, permitting it only if these countries are willing and equipped to manage the waste sustainably.

Understanding the Transport of Waste

On November 17, 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new regulation of Transport for Waste. Since then, the European Parliament and Council have reached an agreement on the future of the regulation.

The primary objective of the EU rules governing the transport of waste is twofold: environmental protection and the reduction of risks to human health. These regulations are designed to ensure that waste is managed and transported in a manner that minimizes negative impacts on the environment and public health. By setting standards and guidelines for waste transportation, the EU aims to prevent pollution and mitigate potential hazards associated with improper handling and disposal of waste.

Additionally, these regulations seek to provide greater legal clarity and consistency in the management of waste shipments across EU member states. Through harmonization efforts, the EU strives to streamline procedures and facilitate smoother cross-border movement of waste while maintaining high environmental and health standards.

Every 3 years, the European Commission's reports on the implementation of this regulation, click HERE to read the latest report.

Who is applicable?

The EU updated its proposal for this regulation in March 2023, and beginning in 2023, all companies with textile manufacturers that import or export waste from the EU to third countries must comply!

How to comply?

In order for companies to comply, the following measures have been proposed:

Waste exports from the EU to OECD countries:
This will be measured by the European Commission. If there is a surge in waste exports to one of these countries, risking serious environmental or public health problems in that country, the Commission will seek information on the treatment of this waste in the country concerned. The Commission will suspend export of this waste if there is no guarantee that this treatment is sustainable.

EU exporting companies:
Independent audits are required for EU companies exporting waste outside the EU to ensure responsible treatment. The new Waste Shipments Regulation enforces stricter rules on waste exports, enhances traceability, and facilitates recycling within the EU and beyond. This supports the circular economy and ensures environmentally sustainable waste treatment.

Used goods:
To tackle the issue of waste being falsely labeled as “used goods”, clear rules will be developed to tell the difference between actual used items and disguised waste, especially for things like used cars and batteries.

For countries that are not members of the OECD:
In order for exports of waste from the EU to comply with the regulation requirements, an official request from the country to import non-hazardous waste from the EU will be required, Additionally, the country receiving the waste MUST be able to demonstrate that it can handle it responsibly. A list of countries authorized to import waste from the EU will be set up.

How to prepare?

The implementation of Transport of Waste regulations will impact fashion businesses, affecting logistics, compliance costs, and environmental responsibilities. Non-compliance can lead to penalties and reputational damage. To prepare, businesses should:

  • Understand and comply with relevant laws.
  • Train staff on waste management and compliance.
  • Maintain records of waste transportation activities.
  • Reduce waste generation.
  • Use environmentally responsible packaging.
  • Stay informed about evolving regulations.

Benefits and challenges of the Transport for Waste

Benefits include;

  • Environmental protection: It aims to protect the environment by ensuring waste is transported and managed responsibly and minimizes pollution and other negative environmental impacts.
  • Human health: It helps reduce risks to human health associated with improper handling and disposal of waste e.g. chemicals ending up in rivers.
  • Consistency: The regulation promotes consistency and coherence in EU waste management practices, facilitating smoother cross-border movement of waste.

Challenges include;

  • Cost: In order to meet requirements, costs including investment in technology, training and resources will be required.
  • Cross-border operations: When operating outside of the EU, businesses will need to take into account the different national regulations and enforcements practices.
  • Supply chain disruptions: Adjustments to supply chain processes may be required, and therefore cause delays.
  • International trade: For businesses engaged in international trade, compliance with EU waste transport regulations may also involve navigating trade barriers and requirements imposed by non-EU countries.

Addressing these challenges requires proactive engagement with regulatory authorities, investment in compliance infrastructure, and ongoing monitoring of regulatory developments to ensure that businesses can effectively meet their obligations while maintaining operational efficiency and competitiveness.

At RethinkRebels, we are committed to supporting businesses in their journey towards responsible and regulatory compliance. Explore our services tailored to help companies, such as yourself, navigate the Transport for Waste regulation and drive meaningful impact in creating a more responsible future!

Additionally, don't forget to check out our Instagram reels highlighting key insights and updates on the Transport for Waste, providing bite-sized content for easy understanding.
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