Councils want transparency for waste shipments

The body representing local authorities within the EU has called for amendments to waste shipment laws that would see exporters of recyclables required to publish the end destinations of all exported material.

Plans to put in place stricter inspection requirements for cross-border shipments of waste materials were approved by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee last month with MEPs set to vote on the measures further in April.

And, the EU’s Committee of the Regions (CoR), which is made up of representatives from local authorities from each of the member states, has endorsed the proposals, having carried out a review of the plans led by Basingstoke and Deane councillor Paula Baker.

The plans, which were drawn up by the European Commission, aim to target “port hopping” by illegal exporters of waste who aim at member states with the most lenient controls on waste exports.

In its report on the amendments, which was submitted to the Commission last week, the CoR welcomed plans that would allow authorities to demand proof of treatment standards from any exporter suspected of carrying out an illegal shipment of waste.

But the group added that the proposal should be extended to include any shipment which falls under the scope of the regulations.

It stated: “The Committee of the Regions welcomes the proposal that in the case of shipments destined for recovery that are suspected to be illegal the competent authority may demand proof from the shipper of the treatment methods, technologies and standards that will be applied at its destination.

“[The Committee] Further believes that this should be introduced for all relevant shipments under the WSR and that the end destination of all recycling should be published to increase transparency and public confidence in the waste and resource chain.”

A voluntary initiative currently exists for local authorities in England and Northern Ireland, set up by the reprocessing sector trade body the Resource Association, which aims to provide clearer information about where recycling ends up, but there is no legal requirement for the information to be published.

However, exporters of recyclable material claim that providing information about exact reprocessing facilities to which recyclable material is sent could be detrimental to the export market.



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