Waste case clarifies export laws

A ruling by the ECJ has gone against previous EU advice on how much information must be given to the authorities in countries receiving waste shipments from Europe.


The European Court of Justice has issued a judgement in the case of Omni Metal Service. The main thrust of the ruling is that waste material that is exported to a country outwith the EU for recovery must be notified to national authorities if it does not feature on official lists of wastes. This is the case even where the components of the waste are individually listed on such lists and do not require notification.

The facts of the case concerned a shipment of cable waste which was blocked on route to China by the Dutch authorities. The judgement of the ECJ goes against the Opinion of the Advocate General, who had indicated earlier in the year that because the components of cable waste were listed on the EU’s green list of wastes it did not need to be notified.

The court stated that a single type of waste that was the result of a durable combination of the main materials, rather than mere mixing, could not come under the green list unless expressly mentioned there.

The court also noted that cable waste from electronic equipment would not have to be notified, since this type of waste was mentioned on the green list. The court left it to the Dutch court that had referred the question to decide whether the waste in the instant case fell within this category.

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