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Call for simplified EU waste shipment rules

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European waste federation FEAD has urged the EU to harmonise the interpretation and application of waste shipment rules across member states.

The European Commission is currently reviewing the Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) as part of its regulatory fitness and performance (REFIT) programme to simplify and reduce the costs of EU legislation.

FEAD president Jean-Marc Boursier wrote to policy officer George Kiayias and legal officer Peter Wessman at the Commission’s environment directorate-general with a number of suggestions to improve the WSR. 

Boursier argued that most of the issues identified were due to inconsistencies with how the Regulation was interpreted across member states, how related pieces of legislation fitted or with differences in enforcement. He argued that “at least part of the solution” lay in amending legislation.

He said: “The WSR is an important piece of legislation to ensure safe shipments of waste, traceability and to guarantee an appropriate treatment of waste at its final destination.”

Some of the areas of concern highlighted by FEAD include the need to distinguish clearly between hazardous and non-hazardous waste procedures; harmonise the classification of waste across member states; reduce the high administrative burden; limit mandatory waste codes; reduce delays in the notification procedure; and cut the type and number of documents required.

To view more of the issues highlighted by Boursier’s letter, see it in full here.

FEAD’s position statement on the WSR review from the summer said:

“Achieving a circular economy and a more resource-efficient economy will require major changes in the way secondary resources are perceived by manufacturers, retailers and consumers, but also policy-makers and regulators.

“Facilitating waste transfers for recycling and recovery through strong harmonised rules guaranteeing market based conditions and fair competition, along the entire value chain, should incentivise all actors to choose the best economic option, while guaranteeing environment and health protection, in particular, when it comes to cross-border movements of hazardous waste.

“By doing so, recycled resources would be made more competitive against virgin equivalents, if the rules are well understood and enforced properly by the national authorities.”

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