2021new EU export prohibition: Are you up-to-date with these new controls?

The EU operates a new export ban on common packaging types. Businesses comply or risk fines and export delays. Read our summary, access legislation and more.


What happened?

  • Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to non-OECD countries are banned.

  • Exporting clean, non-hazardous waste (which is destined for recycling) from the EU to non-OECD countries are only be authorised under specific conditions.

When do the new rules apply?

The new rules entered into force from 1 January 2021.


What shipments do they apply to?

They apply to

  • exports,

  • imports and

  • intra-EU shipments of plastic waste.

Exports from the EU

  • Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to non-OECD countries will be banned.

  • Exporting clean, non-hazardous waste (which is destined for recycling) from the EU to non-OECD countries will only be authorised under specific conditions. The importing country must indicate which rules apply to such imports to the European Commission. The export from the EU will then only be allowed under the conditions laid down by the importing country. For countries which do not provide information on their legal regime, the “prior notification and consent procedure” will apply.

  • Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to OECD countries will be subject to the “prior notification and consent procedure”. Under this procedure, both the importing and exporting country must authorise the shipment.

Imports into the EU

Importing hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle into the EU from third countries will be subject to the “prior notification and consent procedure”. Under this procedure, both the importing and exporting country must authorise the shipment.


Intra-EU shipments

The “prior notification and consent procedure” will also apply to intra-EU shipments of hazardous plastic waste, and of non-hazardous plastic waste that is difficult to recycle.

All intra-EU shipments of non-hazardous waste for recovery will be exempt from these new controls.


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