Brexit: Importing and exporting waste from 1 January 2021

News article

Waste trading businesses must prepare for changes to rules around waste shipments from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021 there will be new arrangements for the movement of waste between the UK and the EU.

Notified waste shipments from the UK to the EU

The UK is a party to the Basel Convention and a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The UK will be treated the same way as any other OECD country or any country party to the Basel convention that intends to export waste to an EU country. The current waste shipments procedures will still apply.

If you are an exporter, you will need to make yourself aware of the EU customs guidelines and the EU Waste Shipment Regulations.

They require:

  • waste exporters to complete waste notification and waste movement forms with details of the Customs Office of Entry into the EU and, if relevant, the Customs of Exit from the EU
  • waste carriers to provide a copy of the waste movement document to the Customs Office of Entry into the EU
  • UK exporters to check that any transport of waste within the EU is by appropriately authorised waste carriers

Some EU Member States require shipments of waste to enter, or exit, though a designated Customs Office. You’ll need check the list of designated customs offices in EU Member States.

You’ll need authorisation for each EU country you transport waste through or into, as acceptance of waste carrier registrations can vary between countries. Requirements can differ for waste carriers from outside the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) area.

Contact the authority responsible for waste in the country you’re transporting waste to or through to find out about the authorisation process.

Before you submit a notification to export waste to the EU for disposal, the UK government must submit a duly reasoned request (DRR) to the relevant EU competent authority. The DRR must explain why the UK does not have, or cannot acquire the required disposal facilities. You will not be able to submit a notification to export until that DRR is approved. Exports of UK waste for disposal are prohibited, apart from a few exceptions. The impact of the new requirement to submit a DRR will therefore be minimal.

Waste shipments from the EU to the UK

EU countries will not be allowed to export waste for disposal, or export mixed municipal waste for recovery, to the UK under EU law.

The rules for shipping non-notified waste for recycling under the Green List Control procedures will stay the same.

UK exporters should check that any transport of waste within the EU is by appropriately authorised waste carriers.

If you’re a UK businesses and want to import waste from the EU to the UK, you should be aware of the:

The rules require:

  • waste exporters to complete waste notification and waste movement forms with details of the Customs Office of Exit from the EU, if relevant
  • waste carriers to provide a copy of the waste movement document to the Customs Office of Exit from the EU, if requested (if importing from Germany, a copy of the waste movement document must always be provided to the German Customs Office of Exit)
  • UK exporters should check that any transport of waste within the EU is by appropriately authorised waste carriers