The waste trade – legal and illegal

News Published 04 Mar 2009 Last modified 23 Nov 2020
1 min read
A new EEA report 'Waste without borders in the EU' examines the increase in cross-border waste shipments and the drivers behind them. It also reveals that the number of reported illegal shipments of waste is increasing. But while the European Union can do better in tracking electronic waste as well as other hazardous and problematic "waste streams", almost all waste generated in the EU that needs to be disposed is in fact disposed within EU borders.

The new EEA report is published in the week that European Ministers for the Environment discussed plans to support waste management and recycling industries. These make a significant contribution to the EU economy and provide an estimated 1.5 million jobs –mostly in small and medium-sized enterprises. The current economic downturn has slowed down demand for recycled materials resulting in a global surplus of waste collected for recycling. At the same time, the increased cross-border waste shipments show that during the last years, a European and global recycling market has developed.

The more we know about the legal shipment of waste, the better we will understand illegal practices and the functioning of the waste management and recycling industries in Europe.

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