EU rules on waste classification are hurting businesses, say US firms

A lack of harmonisation in European Union rules on waste classification is imposing extra costs on businesses and creating uncertainty in the market, says a group of American companies based in the EU.


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The EU Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium has published a position paper on the EU’s waste lists, outlining key problems with waste classification systems within the EU. According to the Committee, the main problems are:

  • vague definitions of hazardous properties , such as “release of toxic gases”, “creation of leachates”, and “ecotoxic”, which need to be replaced with more precise definitions;
  • lack of scientific evaluation by Member States when assessing which category a hazardous waste fits into, resulting in expensive testing being paid for by the industry;
  • a lack of uniformity in the classification of wastes as hazardous, with potentially 15 differing test methods, which needs to be harmonized;
  • practical and recognised test methods for hazardous substances have to be developed in order to allow actual rates of exposure to be measured and to ensure uniform application of the classification system.

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