Exporting waste overseas, also known as transfrontier waste shipping, is the process of moving waste between different countries.
Increases in recycling has resulted in more commercial and household waste being exported as a useful resource, meaning that transfrontier waste shipping is becoming more common for some waste management businesses.
Why Export Waste?
Waste is commonly only exported for reuse or recovery, it doesn’t get exported overseas for disposal, such as landfill. Regulations are applicable from the point of the waste being loaded to the point of its disposal at the facility of its destination. There are stringent rules in place and if they are not followed, the waste operator may be prosecuted, fined or even imprisoned.
If you wish to either import or export waste, you will be subject to the The Transfrontier Shipment of Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2014. It’s first introduction in 2007, updated the former European legislation, introducing a more universal list of waste codes.
Avoidance of landfill tax:
The landfill tax or levy was introduced as an additional cost of transporting waste to landfill. Commonly, the tax is calculated by volume or weight. With the burden of its additional cost to waste business owners, it is often the case that it is more cost effective to transport overseas.
According to the EA, RDF export from the UK has increased by 750,000 tonnes in 2014. The EA also published figures that show by the end of 2014, the amount of RDF shipped overseas exceeded 2,373,611 tonnes.
However, the RDF Export Industry Group has highlighted that they believe there is ‘…no environmental benefit to domestically processing the refuse-derived fuel currently being exported from the UK.’
Duty of Care
As an exporter of waste a ‘duty of care’ which lasts from the duration of dealings with the waste. It is also a responsibility to monitor how that business deals with the waste, even after the transition of the waste. The Duty of Care also requires that the waste to be exported is described in such a way that promotes the safety and handling of the material. Each waste has a code and this must be listed along with a description that identifies its waste properties.
Rules for exporting waste
The rules for exporting waste depend on the following factors:
- The treatment planned
- The country it is destined for
- The transport route
- The type of waste