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Parliamentary questions
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7 October 2019
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002269/2019

EU legislation(1) indeed only allows the export of non-hazardous waste for recycling in third countries if the facilities that receive the waste are operated in accordance with human health and environmental protection standards that are broadly equivalent to those established in the European Union. The obligation to implement and enforce these provisions rests with the Member States. It should be noted that, as of mid-2020, data on waste shipments reported by Member States must be accompanied by a report on the measures they have taken to ensure that shipments of waste comply with the Waste Shipment Regulation, including the requirement that the treatment of waste outside the Union took place in conditions that are broadly equivalent to the requirements of the relevant Union environmental law(2).

At the moment, the Commission is collecting the views and experiences of Member States in implementing these specific provisions. Based on these findings, further work to assist Member States in the implementation and enforcement of these provisions will be considered.

It is also important to stress that in May 2019 new rules on trade in plastic waste were adopted at global level (Basel Convention), with active EU support. These rules will apply from 2021. In practice, the implementation of these rules will result in a ban on the export of plastic waste from the EU to countries outside the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, unless the waste in question is destined for recycling and composed of plastic materials which are easy to recycle.

(1)Article 49 of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 on shipments of waste (OJ L 190, 12.7.2006, p. 1) and Article 11a(8) of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3).
(2)Article 37(5) of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3).

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