Is cable scrap WEEE?

A Dutch court has asked the ECJ for clarification on exactly what does, and does not, qualify as electronic and electrical equipment.

OMNI Metal Service


The European Court of Justice has issued an Opinion, after a Dutch Court referred three questions on the application of Regulation (EC) No. 259/1993 on transfrontier shipments of waste.

The referring judge sought clarification on the following three issues:-

  • Whether cable scrap, such as that in issue in the present case – 15cm diameter – be classified as ‘electronic scrap (e.g. …wire…)’ within the terms of Code GC 020 of the green list?

  • If not, can or must a combination of green list materials, which is not as such mentioned in the green list, be regarded as a green list material? And may that combination of materials be transported for the purposes of recovery without the notification procedure being applicable?

  • Is it necessary, in this regard, that the waste materials be offered or transported separately?

    The Court decided that cable scrap conforms to Category GC 020 of the green list if they form or formed part of electronics components. It also opined that a combination of green list materials, that does not appear on the green list as such, can be judged to be included in the green list.

    It will be subject to the transfer regime where transport is for the purposes of recovery in the country of destination, and the conditions in the preamble to the green list must be met.

    The preamble to the green list states that materials cannot be moved as green list wastes where they are contaminated by other materials to such an extent that the risks associated with the waste are increased sufficiently to render in appropriate to be included in the amber or red lists or where they are so contaminated as so prevent the recovery of the waste in an environmentally sound manner.

    In relation to the final question referred to the Court, it decided that where there are combinations of several green list materials being shipped, it is not necessary that they be transported or offered separately.

    The text of the Opinion is available in French at the following link.

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