Importing and exporting waste



International waste shipments (IWS), also known as transfrontier shipments of waste, are movements of waste between countries. If you import waste into or export waste from the UK, you must comply with the international regulations that control waste shipments.

Changes in manufacturing and an increase in recycling means more household and commercial wastes are being exported for recycling overseas. High quality waste materials are a useful sustainable resource.

The illegal export of low quality waste materials can harm the environment and human health.

Before you import or export waste you must check that you are allowed to do so with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

This guide provides information on international waste shipment controls and waste import and export environmental legislation.

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

Waste importers and exporters must prepare for changes to rules around importing and exporting waste.

  • NIEA Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Helpline
    028 9056 9742