Status of and legislation on the transboundary shipment of waste

Introduction

Essentially, the domestic disposal principle applies as far as "waste for disposal" is concerned in the Member States of the European Union. Exemptions are possible if there are no suitable facilities for the disposal of a specific type of waste in a country or if it is practical to use foreign facilities close to the border.

"Waste for disposal" is regarded as an economic asset. As a matter of principle, suitable waste can also be recovered in other countries. Under current German law, however, it is subject to restrictions that relate to its components and the country of destination.

Basel Convention

Since 20 July 1995, Germany has been a contracting party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal of 22 March 1989, which entered into force on 5 May 1992 and to which over 180 states have now acceded. The Convention established rules on the permissibility and control of exports of hazardous waste that are followed all over the world. Transboundary movements of waste require the consent of the competent authorities of the state of export, all states of transit and the state of import.

The Convention is intended, in particular, to protect states that do not possess the necessary technical capacities to deal with hazardous waste.

12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2015 in Geneva

The Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (together with meetings for the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions) took place in Geneva in May 2015. The most important policy success of the conference was the adoption of technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electronic and electrical waste. Signficant parts of the guidelines are based on provisions of the European WEEE Directive on the reversal in the burden of proof and the distinction between waste and non-waste. Seven technical guidelines on wastes containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were adopted concerning eleven chemicals. These had been adopted by the Stockholm Meeting of the Parties. Updated technical guidelines on mercury wastes were adopted, whereby these were brought into line with requirements with the Minamata Convention on mercury. 


11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2013 in Geneva

The Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in took place in April / May 2013. At this time there were also meetings for the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and closer cooperation between the three conventions was agreed. A framework for environmentally sound waste management and a guidance document on environmentally sound management of used and end of life computing equipment was adopted. It was also decided to incorporate two entries on the pre-treatment of composite packaging for liquids and self-adhesive label laminate waste in the list of wastes in Annex IX. This change was transposed into German law by the third ordinance on the amendment of annexes to the Basel Convention of 22 March 1989. The ordinance entered into force on 26 May 2014.


10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2011 in Cartagena

The Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in October 2011 saw, among other things, the adoption of an omnibus decision that set out a range of measures designed to improve the effectiveness of the Convention.


9th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2008 in Bali

The central topic for the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention June 2008 was the relationship between waste management and health. The Bali Declaration on Waste Management for Human Health and Livelihood was adopted and a world forum was held on this subject.


8th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2006 in Nairobi

The Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (November / December 2006) deliberated on the further development of the worldwide rules on waste disposal and exports. Globally harmonised notification and movement documents for transboundary movements of waste and instructions for their use were adopted. This decision led to the amendment of Annex IC of Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006 on shipments of waste. A World Forum on E-Wastes was held and a ministerial declaration on e-wastes adopted. The Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties also thoroughly examined the environmental disaster that took place in Ivory Coast in August 2006. 


7th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2004 in Geneva

The Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in October 2004 decided to add waste cables, which had not been included up until this point, to the lists of wastes in Annexes VIII and IX. This change was transposed into German law by the second ordinance on the amendment of annexes to the Basel Convention of 22 March 1989. The ordinance entered into force on 8 October 2005.


6th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 2002 in Geneva

Amendments to the lists of wastes in Annexes VIII and IX were adopted at the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in December 2002. These amendments served essentially to harmonise them with the lists of wastes annexed to the European Waste Shipment Regulation and the OECD, and were transposed into German law by the ordinance on the amendment of annexes to the Basel Convention of 22 March 1989. The ordinance entered into force on 20 November 2003.


5th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 1999 in Basel

The Basel Declaration on Environmentally Sound Management, which is intended to advance the establishment of environmentally sound production and disposal facilities, in particular in developing countries, was adopted at the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in December 1999. Furthermore, the Conference adopted the Protocol on Liability and Compensation to the Basel Convention (Basel Protocol), which created a global liability regime in the environmental sector for the first time. However, it has not yet entered into force.


4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties 1998 in Kuching

The Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in February 1998 decided to integrate these lists into the Basel Convention as Annexes VIII and IX. This change entered into force in November 1998 and established a basis on which consistent enforcement and a minimum degree of legal security can be guaranteed worldwide. The lists were incorporated into German law by the Act on Amendments to the Basel Convention; this legislation entered into force on 24 January 2002.


2nd and 3rd Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (1994 and 1995 in Geneva)

The Convention is intended, in particular, to protect states that do not possess the necessary technical capacities to deal with hazardous waste. This was why the Second and Third Meetings of the Conference of the Parties laid down restrictions on the export and import of wastes. The export of "hazardous wastes" from OECD states to any state outside the OECD is prohibited as a matter of principle. This new rule was introduced at the Third Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, but has still not been put into practice. A concrete list of hazardous wastes was drawn up – "List A" – in order to ensure that regulations that specify which wastes are to be classified as hazardous for the purposes of the Basel Convention are consistent all over the world. "List B" set out all wastes that are not regarded as hazardous for the purposes of the Convention.


OECD decision on movements of wastes destined for recovery operations

OECD Council Decision C(2001)107/FINAL has been adopted amending Decision C(92)39 Concerning the Control of Transfrontier Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations.

Regulation on shipments of waste

Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste amended Regulation (EEC) Number 259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community. The new Regulation has been in force since 12 July 2007. Firstly, it adjusted European legislation to take account of developments under the United Nations Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, and the OECD Decision on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations of 2001. Secondly, the experience gained in applying the previous Regulation was drawn on to make fundamental improvements to the legal requirements in place.

A series of Correspondents’ Guidelines were adopted on the implementation of Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006. The implementation and further development of Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006 is discussed at the European level, in particular during meetings of the correspondents and the Technical Adaptation Committee.

Regulation concerning the export of non-hazardous waste to non-OECD countries

Apart from the European Regulation on waste shipments, this field is governed by Commission Regulation (EC) Number 1418/2007 of 29 November 2007 concerning the export for recovery of certain waste listed in Annex III or IIIA to Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006 to certain countries to which the OECD Decision on the control of transboundary movements of wastes does not apply.

Customs offices designated for waste shipments into and from the EU

A list of the customs offices designated for the entry of waste shipments into and their exit from the European Community has been published and is updated regularly every year.

Bilateral agreements and arrangements

Germany has concluded the a bilateral agreement, which entered into force on 15 February 2000, with Kosovo (KFOR/NATO) in accordance with Article 11 of the Basel Convention. Further information on bilateral and multilateral agreements and arrangements is available of the website of the Basel Convention

German Law

1. Waste Shipment Act

Supplementary provisions for the Federal Republic of Germany have been laid down since 1994 by the Waste Shipment Act. The act replacing the Waste Shipment Act and amending other legislation (of which the amended version of the Waste Shipment Act is an essential component part) entered into force on 28 July 2007. The new version of the Waste Transportation Act was made necessary by Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006. 

2. Waste Shipment Fees Ordinance

Since the end of 2003, additional fees have been charged for shipments of wastes for which notification is required that originate from other countries and are transported through Germany. As the competent authority, the German Environment Agency (UBA) takes decisions on the shipment of wastes through German territory. All official acts in this connection have been made subject to fees since 23 December 2003 on the basis of the Waste Shipment Fees Ordinance. These fees serve to compensate the German Environment Agency for the services it provides. The Waste Shipment Fees Ordinance only has financial implications for waste exporters from other countries.

The first ordinance amending the Waste Shipment Fees Ordinance amended the Waste Shipment Fees Ordinance to ensure it complied with Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006.

3. Ordinance on fines for illegal waste shipments

The Waste Shipment Fines Ordinance sets out the legal foundations for the imposition of fines for contraventions of the provisions of Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006 on shipments of waste.

4. Guideline for the implementation of Regulation (EC) Number 1013/2006 and the Waste Shipment Act

A guidance document on the implementation of the European and German legislation concerning shipments of waste was drawn up by the Federation/Länder Working Group on Waste (LAGA).

5. Customs provisions

A guidance on cooperation between customs authorities and waste authorities regarding the shipment of waste was adopted by the Federation/Länder Working Group on Waste (LAGA).

6. Catalogue of fines

LAGA adopted a catalogue of fines imposed for offences committed in relation to the shipment of waste.

Wastes shipped illegally from Germany

There have been cases of waste being shipped illegally from Germany. Total monitoring of the borders is not possible in view of the scale on which goods are transported internationally. ‘Waste traffickers’ frequently make use of an impenetrable web of trading relationships and business names. In many cases, the authorities succeed in identifying the individual or individuals in Germany who are responsible and calling them to account.