7 Your Obligations in the Event of Waste Import or Export
This section offers guidance to any person who intends to import waste or holds waste that is going to be exported. This could include producers, carriers, managers, brokers and dealers who must also comply with the other relevant parts of this guidance. The Duty of Care applies to the storage, transfer and carriage of that waste before it is exported and / or after it is imported.
What are my responsibilities?
If you are involved in the import or export of waste to or from the United Kingdom you need to be aware that shipments of waste are subject to a range of regulatory controls. Export of waste is covered by the EU Waste Shipments Regulation (1013/2006) and the UK Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 (as amended). You, therefore, need to ensure that the person to whom you are transferring waste will not export it in breach of the rules set out in this legislation.
Hazardous waste and waste destined for recovery in a developing country is generally subject to notification procedures. This requires the prior written consent of all relevant authorities of dispatch, transit and destination.
Green list (non-hazardous) waste can be shipped for recovery within Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD) countries under a lower level of control and accompanied by certain information. The shipment of non-hazardous waste to non- OECD countries ( i.e. developing countries) depends on which classification of waste the importing country accepts and which procedures it wants to apply.
What are my responsibilities?
|In the event of waste import or export you have a duty to :|
Where you use a broker or dealer, you both have responsibilities under the Duty of Care. Using a waste broker or dealer does not diminish or remove any of these responsibilities from you if you have been a holder of waste which is being exported.
If you are a waste manager and you are sending waste to a facility that may be involved in the export of waste, you should ensure that you have sufficient information to satisfy yourself that any waste that is collected by you or on your behalf is exported legally. Should waste collected by you be shipped illegally, you may be liable for the costs of return and subject to enforcement action.
Step 1 - Apply the waste hierarchy
You must apply the waste hierarchy as a priority order to the management of your waste and promote high quality recycling. The waste hierarchy guidance provides details of the preferred outcomes for a range of common recyclable materials.
The recycling and recovery of material is an international business and material may be imported or exported from the UK for recovery in compliance with the Transfrontier Shipments of Waste Regulations.
It is illegal to import or export waste for disposal, except in a few very limited circumstances.
It is also illegal to export hazardous waste to countries not members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD).
Step 2 - Prevent the escape of waste
You must not allow any waste materials to escape from your control during transport.
Vehicles and containers must be suitable for holding the waste so that it does not escape during transport and management e.g. containers should not be overloaded.
When importing or exporting waste you need to make sure that:
- waste is being stored in a secure location and in suitable containers for both transport and subsequent management. If the waste is not kept securely, there is the possibility that unauthorised people may have accessed the waste.
- recyclable waste is stored separately from mixed waste and from other types of recyclable waste to the extent that he quality of the material is not undermined.
- containers are clearly labelled with their contents so that you know what the wastes are and can confirm that you are collecting the correct waste. Container labels should clearly describe the properties of the waste so that you and the next holder know what measures are required to store and transport the waste safely.
- waste is being stored safely. Leakage and spillages must be prevented and/or controlled. If you consider that the containers are unsafe you have a duty not to transport them in that state. You are required to re-pack the waste, or arrange for its re-packaging, until you are satisfied that the waste can be transported safely.
- take measures to prevent pollution. You must prevent liquid wastes and pollutants from escaping into drains, watercourses or surrounding ground. Store liquid wastes on impermeable surfaces within a secondary containment system. Ideally this should be a bund which is large enough to hold the leaked contents of the storage containers. If you store liquids, refer to SEPA's guide to the storage and handling of drums & IBCs
Step 3 - Describe the waste
You must ensure that the waste being transferred is covered by a completed transfer note (or in the case of imports and exports, Annex VII form or notification form and movement document) which should include an adequate written description that will enable anyone receiving it to manage it in accordance with their own Duty of Care. If something goes wrong and the waste is not described properly or you have not told the next holder the properties of the waste, then you may be held responsible together with the waste producer.
If exporting waste:
You must ensure that any waste you are exporting is delivered with a WTN including an adequate written description that will enable you to store or manage it in accordance with the Duty of Care. The WTN is your evidence that you received the waste. Guidance on the information that a transfer note must contain is provided in Chapter 10
You must keep a copy of the transfer note signed by yourself and the person you received the waste from for two years. This can be an electronic copy, including electronic signatures, provided an enforcement officer can view it. You also need to keep any additional information with this note such as any analysis results.
Relevant green list or notification control descriptions must be completed depending on the type of waste being exported and the particular country where the recovery is to take place, in compliance with the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations. These documents should be retained for three years.
If importing waste:
You must check that the relevant green list or notification control descriptions are completed depending on the type of waste being imported in compliance with the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations. These documents should be retained for three years.
If the waste is to be transferred onto a UK waste management or reprocessing facility it requires a WTN (as outlined above).
Step 4 - Transfer to an authorised person
When exporting waste:
You need to ensure that:
- the country of destination has given approval to accept it, and
- the necessary documentation and authorisations are in place.
You should consider whether any further export controls or notification requirements apply and establish this from the exporter. The facility identified for processing the waste in the country of receipt must be deemed suitable.
When importing waste you should:
Ensure that any person or business you supply with waste is authorised to accept it. All sites managing waste for treatment and/or disposal are required to hold an appropriate permit, licence or exemption.
As a minimum you should ask for:
- the reference number of the site's Licence or Permit so that you can check this against SEPA's public registers to confirm that it is genuine and valid and evidence that it allows for deposit of the waste you are carrying.
- a description of the waste on the Annex VII or notification form which is adequate for you to be reasonably certain that the waste can be accepted at the next site.
- confirmation from SEPA if you are at all unsure whether the site can accept the waste.
Step 5 - Prevent waste causing harm or pollution
Harm to human health or pollution of the environment may be caused by the unauthorised or inappropriate management of waste.
Import and export of waste can be a complex process as countries of destination can change their approvals or specific requirements quite regularly. You should be familiar with all of the requirements and understand that certain countries do not accept any imports of waste.
For guidance refer to the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations pages on SEPA's website: