European regulators organisation, IMPEL, has identified 2,586 European waste export violations from 2018 to March 2020, with waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) identified as the worst material type for breaches.
In its latest Shipment of Waste Enforcement Actions Project (SWEAP) report, the organisation found 22 percent of waste inspection results were found to violate the rules with shipments subject to export bans, while 34 percent were for breaches of national regulations.
When broken down into waste streams, the report reveals the worst category for violations of the rules was WEEE, with 362 violations overall, followed by plastics (330), metals (324), ELVs & car parts (224) and paper (175). IMPEL says these same waste streams were in the top 5 for violations in the 2019 report. Batteries have seen the largest increase from 8 violations to 60.
The report also notes the enforcement action taken when these violations occur. Repatriation is the most common, whereby waste is returned to the originating country. Penalties and a ‘stop’ – where the exports are prevented from travelling to the export destination – are the second and third most common outcome.
Vikkie Fitzgerald, Head of WEEE at Clarity Environmental, commented: “We have never directly financed the export of whole WEEE, and offer a comprehensive take-back esrvice for our compliance scheme members, working only with Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities who pririoritse domestic downstream recycling.
“Reports such as these are important for looking critically at where we need to be improving and adapting in our industry, and that appropriate enforcement is taken when breaches occur. But we should also look at the system as a whole; why do we rely on exports? If it stems from a lack of capacity in the UK market to handle these items, then investment, innovation and regulation in infrastructure is essential for us to see long term improvements in future assessments.”
WEEE Compliance at Clarity
Clarity’s WEEE compliance scheme provides its members with low cost and simple compliance, alongside unrivalled member support. If you would like to discuss WEEE and your legal obligations, get in touch with a member of our team.