20 Jan 2022

DIGITALEUROPE's position paper on the proposed Waste Shipment Regulation

Executive summary

DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the proposal for the revision of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation WSR. We believe the proposal has the potential to enable the movement of secondary raw materials, to avoid environmental dumping and burdensome shipment of secondary raw materials and accelerate the circular economy. We support the EU’s focus on enabling the shipment of secondary raw materials within the Single Market. However, we also underline that:

  • Notification procedures could be accelerated.
  • Cleaner fast-track procedure in the WSR would facilitate the Circular Economy.
  • Increased focus on enabling shipment for repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and collection of waste would be central for a real Circular Economy.
  • Bans are not the most proportionate policy instrument to tackle environmental protection as circular economy supply chains are global.

Key priorities

DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the focus on the following provisions  proposed by the European Commission and suggest further changes:

  • Simplification and acceleration of the notification procedure (Art. 5(7), Art. 6, Art. 7, Art. 9, Art. 12, Art. 26)
    • DIGITALEUROPE welcomes that the proposal acknowledges the need to streamline and simplify notification requirements. We particularly appreciate the focus on speeding up the approval process and the envisaged digitalisation.
    • In particular, DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the maximum 30 day period for notification approvals, detailed step-by-step procedures, and the focus on motivated objections.
    • It is important to make notification processes digital. DIGITALEUROPE believes that the envisaged central EU system should fully replace national systems. Interoperability between national systems is not as efficient as one central system.
    • We welcome the new wording on contracts and financial guarantees, which provide more flexibility.
  • DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the increased focus on fast-track procedures and pre-consented facilities, although we would have preferred an even cleaner fast lane for circular economy shipments (see our position paper proposing a Circular Card, 2019) (Art. 14)
    • We support the proposed possibility for recovery facilities to obtain a pre-consented facility status for seven years, based on a clear list of documentation criteria.
    • DIGITALEUROPE emphasises that circular economic activities are often pushing the boundaries of what is considered recycling or other forms of recovery. Therefore, “recovery facility” should be defined in as broad terms as possible to allow innovative processes.
  • Repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and waste collection activities are central to the functioning of the circular economy but have received relatively little attention in the proposal.
    • DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the legal empowerment of the European Commission to further streamline the different legislation impacting shipments for repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing through secondary legislation (Art. 28(4)), as the lack of EU-harmonized criteria for the distinction between waste EEE and used EEE is currently hindering the free movement of used EEE within the Union as well as to further clarify end-of-waste classifications
    • DIGITALEUROPE is encouraged by the new Art. 4(4) that will enable more shipments of small quantities to assess the extent to which they qualify for recycling and innovative circular economy practices. However, Art. 4 overall is a missed opportunity. It should have clarified that small volume take-back and trade-in activities for waste collection from households are exempted from shipment requirements. Art. 4(3) continues to be legally ambiguous.
    • DIGITALEUROPE is concerned that further tightened restrictions on waste shipments (Art. 33, 36, 37, 41, 49) may impact emerging global circular economy supply chains. We fully subscribe to the need to ensure environmental protection globally but believe that bans are not the most proportionate policy instrument.
      • DIGITALEUROPE cautions against attempts to make shipments of non-hazardous waste more difficult. Prohibiting the export of non-hazardous waste to non-OECD countries in a blanket manner could inhibit circular economy practices.
      • DIGITALEUROPE welcomes Art. 36(3) and Art 37(2) as helpful provisions in an otherwise rigid export framework but flag our concern at the high barriers to make use of these paths.
      • We urge policymakers to clarify Art. 33 to ensure that Member States’ “appropriate regimes” for supervision and control of waste shipments within their own country should not include notification procedures for intra-Member-State shipments. Excessively regulating those shipments would stifle the circular economy within the EU Single Market.

     


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    For more information, please contact:
    Giorgia Murgia
    Officer for Sustainability Policy
    Hugh Kirk
    Senior Manager for Digital Commerce Policy
    Back to Sustainability
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