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At last! EU updates shipping regulations

As non-OECD importers agree to be bound by new Basel Convention rules, exports to India remain restricted by the previous notification regime.

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Finally, plastic scrap dealers in Europe and their customers have clarity on the movement of secondary materials from the continent to non-OECD countries. Since the beginning of the year such trade was subject to a temporary notification process while the industry waited on the European Commission to update and publish waste shipment regulation (WSR) 1418/2007 in response to changes to the Basel Convention which regulates reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations – and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less-developed countries.

NOVEMBER MILESTONE

The WSR was finally published by the commission on 20 October, meaning it would come into force 20 days after publication. Therefore since 10 November the new regulation has been established and shipment of green listed waste is governed by the newly published regulation. The update was based on responses from individual non-OECD countries.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam all gave a green light to the import of sorted plastic scrap which falls under category B3011. This means that since 10 November shipments of B3011 have been subject to the Annex VII procedure instead of the former notification process, thereby easing exports of sorted plastics waste to these countries.

Unlike under the notification process, where shipments could start only from a designated point, exporters bound by Annex VII are now able to ship waste from different locations. This will help them increase their business and use the most economical ways of getting their materials to their customers’ recycling facilities.  

INDIA CONFUSION

The European Commission sent a note verbale to India about the shipment of green listed waste from the European Union and the Indian authorities replied but, due to some mis-communication or error, questions about sorted plastic scrap (B3011) remain unanswered. Under the pre-existing regulation 1418/2007, shipments must remain subject to the notification process when there is no clear reply from a country about green-listed waste.

This requires the exporting country to send a notification document to the importing country seeking permission before any shipment can be sent on its way. In the case of India, this means there are no changes in terms of shipment to that country despite the wider updated regulation. Shipment of sorted plastics waste under category of B3011 remain under the notification process.

Importers in India have met the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate change (MOEFCC) to seek clarity on the situation and called for communication to be re-established with the European Commission to allow B3011-affected shipments to come under the Annex VII process instead of notification.

MOEFCC has initiated that communication with commission officials and the environmental authorities in individual European countries to try to resolve the position. The Indian Embassy in Brussels was also active in making efforts to situation over updating 1418/2007. It now remains to be seen how soon this communication can be re-established and how soon the regulations are updated. Until then, the regime will remain under the notification process.

PRICE BOOST?

After the November change was implemented, meaning shipments of sorted plastic scrap from Europe have eased, it is anticipated that prices for plastics scrap will jump. Previously, only exporters who had valid notifications were able to ship their material. Now all exporters are able to do so and that means the plastic scrap market should, after…..

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