The world-wide trade in non-hazardous waste materials such as metals, paper and plastics is huge.
The countries member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) exported around 5 million tonnes of paper waste, 4 million tonnes of metal waste and half a million tonnes of recovered plastics in 2007, according to a report by the European Commission.
The EU Waste Shipment Regulation establishes the control procedures for transporting waste within, into and out of the EU.
The aim is to ensure a high level of environmental and human health protection, while at the same time safeguarding trading rights.
This Regulation implements into EU law the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal and the OECD Decision on Control of cross-border movements of waste destined for recovery operations.
The Regulation covers shipments of all types of waste, for final disposal or for recovery. Among waste for recovery, the non-hazardous waste represents a useful secondary source raw material.
Commission periodically updates this implementing regulation by transposing replies submitted by importing countries to an EU questionnaire about their procedures.
On 08 July 2011 the Commission adopted Regulation No 661/2011 reflecting new information provided by third countries on the procedures applicable to exports of non-hazardous waste to certain non-OECD countries.
Further updates to the implementing regulation will take place on the basis of a questionnaire to importing countries. This questionnaire reflects the four column lay-out in the Regulation.