Waste Exports

Are you affected?

If you wish to export – or import – waste products for whatever disposal route including recycling and recovery, you are subject to the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 (as amended).

Amendments include:

Transfrontier Shipment of Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2014

Transfrontier Shipment of Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2008


  • On 12 July 2007, European waste shipments legislation came into force creating a more universal list of waste codes, and simplifying the procedures for notifiable and non-notifiable waste.
  • 2013 Amendment updated Annex VII and Annex VIII. This applied a revised Annex VII document which was transposed into UK law under Brexit and must be used by UK exporters.
  • However, following the UK’s exit from the EU on 1 Jan 2021, the EU revised the Annex VII and Correspondents Guideline No 10 so although these changes do not apply to Annex VIIs used by UK exporters, some EU competent authorities may demand that any waste travelling through their jurisdiction have a completed revised Annex VII with the load.
  • All parties involved have a duty to manage the process in a way that protects the environment and human health.
  • Temporary storage, or interim recovery or disposal operations are included in the controls.
  • If notfiable:
    • There must be a financial guarantee or appropriate insurance.
    • The charges for determining notifications have been changed.
    • Prior notification and written consent must be gained from the environmental regulator for the country from which the waste is being sent and the environmental regulator for the country where the waste is being received .
    • Only one waste code is allowed on each notification, which must be selected from the more generic list of waste codes.
  • Tracking and monitoring the movement of specified non-hazardous or ‘green list’ wastes is more strictly controlled.

Information is available here.

PLEASE NOTE. From 1 January 2021 Basel amendments to plastic exports have been implemented in full by the UK.

The EU has published an amendment to the waste shipment regulations to take account of the Basel amendments.

As the UK will no longer be a member of the EU, exports of PVC and mixed plastics other than a combination of any of PE/PET/PP to any country will no longer be green list and have to be notified. Guidance has  been issued by the EA (2/11/20).

Full EA Guidance on Basel changes (as at 26/11/20)

Full SEPA Guidance on Basel changes (Dec 2020)

Notifier Guidance – comprehensive guidance on the notification process

EA Regulatory approach

There has been confusion over whether a bales of mixed polymers restricted to PE, PP or PET can be exported under B3011 green list and the answer is yes, so long as they are recycled as separate polymer types and must therefore be sorted prior to recycling.

The EA has updated guidance on the export of B3011 plastic waste to OECD and non-OECD.

This guidance of different polymer uses may be of assistance.

Exports of Article 18 green list waste to non-OECD countries

The Basel code change to B3011 for green list plastic has required an amendment to the carried forward EU regulation 1418/2007 which listed this material under B3010. The revised regulation is expected to come into force on 29th July 2021 with a list of non-OECD countries that have responded to Defra’s request for information as to whether they will accept B3011 as green list. The table in the regs has been simplified by Defra into an Excel spreadsheet which was correct as of 20/07/21. 


Imports for recovery

Imports for disposal

Generally, you should not import wastes for disposal in the UK. There are a number of exceptions to this ban.

  • You can import waste from countries outside the UK where you can provide environmentally sound disposal that is not available in their own country. Governments of states wishing to dispose of waste in the UK must have an agreement with the relevant environmental regulator under a duly motivated request (DMR), the UK Correspondent (The Secretary of State), or the EU under a bilateral agreement.
  • For example, the Isle of Man is permitted to export hazardous waste to the UK under a DMR for physico-chemical treatment, disposal to landfill and high temperature incineration at authorised facilities.
  • You can import waste from EU countries that produce hazardous wastes but only in such small quantities that the provision of new specialised facilities within that state would be uneconomical. For example, Ireland and Portugal are permitted to export hazardous waste to the UK for disposal by high temperature incineration at authorised facilities.

Exports for disposal

You must not export waste from the UK for disposal . There are generally no exceptions to this ban except where there are absolutely no disposal options in the UK.

Exports for recovery

  • If waste is being moved for recovery, the type of waste must be specified – European legislation contains several annexes specifying different types of hazardous and non hazardous waste. This has been simplified into one ‘Consolidated waste list’. There is an EC FAQ that helps to understand the use of these codes.
  • The EU has recently (Oct 2019) published Guidance on ‘How to report on shipment of waste’.
  • Some waste codes have been replaced in the Waste Shipment Regulations by OECD codes. These should be used for WEEE, for instance.
  • You are allowed to export hazardous wastes to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states for recovery in principle . There are some exceptions , for example, you should not export hazardous waste to Hungary.
  • The Agency has updated the ‘Controls on Exports of Green List Waste to non-OECD Countries’ to Version 17 (Jan 2013).
  • You must not export hazardous wastes to non-OECD countries for recovery.
  • With some exceptions, you are allowed to export specified non-hazardous waste known as ‘green list’ waste for recovery to OECD member states and certain non-OECD states.
  • Depending on the policies of the importing country, shipments of ‘green list’ waste to non-OECD countries either may be banned, require prior written notification and consent , or be excluded from control. The original online Waste Exports Control tool should have been replaced by a new one on GOV.UK from 1 Jan, but development has been delayed and they have therefore produced a stop-gap Excel alternative
  • All green list waste being exported must be accompanied by an Annex VII document (2013 PDF version) which acts like a transfer note. An ECJ ruling (29 March 2012) has stated that all sections of this must be fully completed regardless of any confidentiality issues. 
  • Whilst the EC updated the Correspondence Guidelines in early 2021, the older version of ‘Correspondents Guidelines 10’ still apply to UK exporters and the EA issued clarification in 2014 ireminding exporters of their duties to complete all the sections regarding the Annex VII.
  • Whilst the EA only require the Annex VII to be completed and sent with the consignment, SEPA require active notification through NPWD.
  • All hazardous waste being exported from or imported into the UK must be treated as notifiable waste and must follow the EA Guidance for notifiable waste.
  • Where waste is notified and the waste type is not listed in the Basel Convention Consolidated Waste list (see above), it can be moved as unlisted waste under the Annex 1c amendment to the Shipment Regulations.
  • There are transitional arrangements for the export of specific non-hazardous wastes to Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. You will require prior written notification and consent to export non-hazardous waste to these countries.
  • A completed movement form must also accompany each shipment of ‘green list’ waste. In Scotland, you must submit Annex VII forms to the competent authorities prior to any shipment. You can obtain these forms from your competent authority.
  • The EU has FAQ’s which are helpful, but not always in line with EA application.
  • For used-EEE/WEEE exports, the EU Correspondents Guidelines should be referred to and WRAP have produced a very good Guide.
  • Please note that the EU Commision has issued special Guidelines for the export of ink cartridges as part of a number of ‘Correspondents Guidelines’.
  • The European Commission has publsihed CG12 – in Nov 2021 to provide guidance on the classification of plastic waste following the recent Basel Convention changes.

Prior Informed Consent (Notification)

  • Wastes that do not meet Green List requirements from export from GB and are restricted or prohibited for import into a destination country must be moved under Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedures, commonly known as Notification.
  • This requires the exporter to apply to the relevant Agency (EA, SEPA, NRW, NIEA) under the notification procedures, an onerous, costly process that can take up to 3 months for approval.
  • Documents detailing the start to finish route to the destination, the composition and the intended number of loads must be submitted.
  • The route between the start point and destination must shown on the documents including any transit countries and ports. ‘Transit’ is defined differently in some countries but generally, it includes where a ship enters a port even if the notified containers are not unloaded. It also includes the transfer of containers between ships at a port and in some cases, even where a ship enters the territorial waters of a country but does not stop at a port.
  • The EA sent out a communication on 18/12/21 to those involved in notifications clarifying the position that once submitted, routing changes will be limited to exceptional circimstances.
  • Financial guarantees must also be provided for exports under notification. The rules for these were tightened on 26 March 2021 with a full explanation here.
  • Guidance on notification requirements is on GOV.UK.