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International Forwarding Association Blog » European Logistics » Regulations and Guidelines for Safe Waste Shipping
Regulations and Guidelines for Safe Waste Shipping

Regulations and Guidelines for Safe Waste Shipping

Waste is shipped by sea, railway, and road transport across borders, and the goal is final disposal or recycling. Hazardous waste is also shipped from generator sites to processing facilities that can store, treat, and recycle shipments.


In the European Union, freight forwarders that are shipping waste are subject to the ADR and IMDG regulations, EU Directive 1013/2006, and the Basel Convention Regulations. Directive 1013/2006 states that all shipments must take place in such a way as to protect human health and the environment. The directive governs shipments in transit, to and from third countries, and between EU Member States. Waste is only allowed to be shipped to facilities that are issued pre-consent by the competent authorities. The Commission receives information about pre-consented quantities, period of validity, types of waste, and technologies employed. The regulation governs different types of waste, including such resulting from:

  • Chemical and physical processing
  • Mineral excavation
  • Aluminum production
  • Cleaning and washing of minerals
  • Stone sawing and cutting
  • Rock-salt and potash processing

Waste shipping is also regulated for oil-containing drilling muds, fresh-water drilling muds, waste clays and sand, and acid-generated tailings.

European Logistics Waste Shipping


How Shipping Companies Are Involved

European logistics providers that specialize in waste shipping cover all aspects, including transportation by air, sea, and land, shipping documentation, transit storage, and customs formalities. EU Directive 1013/2006 mandates that shipping companies provide information such as actual date of shipment and actual quantity, importer, person in charge of the shipment, and waste generator. Logistics services providers are also asked to provide information such as waste identification, recovery facility and operation, and carrier. Information about carriers must be submitted as well, including date of transfer, means of transport, and contact person.

Depending on the country of origin, companies exporting waste may also need insurance or financial guarantees to cover costs such as storage, waste disposal and recovery, and transportation.

Types of Hazardous Waste and Information Required

Hazardous waste is subject to additional controls under Directive 2008/98/EC. Special controls apply to waste that forms explosive peroxides, is explosive when dry, mass explodes in fire, and explodes at high temperatures under confinement. The entities that are involved in transporting and collecting hazardous waste are asked to provide additional information, including origin and nature, record of quantity, mode of transport, frequency of collection, destination, and treatment method.

Entities Permitted to Export Waste

The entities that are permitted to export waste vary by country and may include holders of waste, registered brokers and dealers, licensed collectors, licensed new producers, and original waste producers.

Storage and Pre-Processing

Storage and pre-processing take place in interim facilities that have capabilities for storage and repackaging of waste, mixing and blending, and accumulation and exchange. Some facilities are designated for recovery and others for disposal.

Types of Waste Shipments

Waste shipments fall in several categories – import for interim and non-interim disposal, import for interim and non-interim recovery, export for interim and non-interim disposal, and export for recovery.