BAN on the export of waste for disposal from 2026

On the 30 April 2024, The Official Journal of the European Union published changes to the Waste Shipments Regulation, amending EU Regulation No. 1257/2013 and 2020/1056 and repealing Regulation No. 1013/2006.

The Regulation became effective on 20 May 2024, but most of its provisions will be implemented from 21 May 2026.

The main innovation of the new rules for cross-border waste transfers is the complete change of approach in how the movement of waste for disposal is regulated.

The current rule permits the transport of waste across borders for disposal, but it also gives the competent authorities of the destination and shipment countries the chance to make reasoned objections (see Art. 11 EC Reg. no. 2006/1013).

As of 21 May 2026, there is a general ban on shipping any kind of waste if it is going to be disposed of (Art. 4 para. 1 EU Reg. 2024/1157), except if the authorities in charge of the destination and the origin give permission after checking that all the requirements in Art. 11 of EU Reg. 2024/1157 have been fulfilled.

It is important to be aware, that from 21 May 2026, in order to be able to export waste for disposal, the notifier will have to prove (among many other things) all of the following circumstances:

  • the waste cannot be recovered in a technically feasible and economically viable manner or must be disposed of due to legal obligations under EU or international law;
  • the waste cannot be disposed of in a technically feasible and economically viable manner in the country where it was generated;
  • the planned shipment or disposal is in accordance with the waste hierarchy and the principles of proximity and self-sufficiency, as set out in Directive 2008/98/EC, and the waste concerned is managed in an environmentally sound manner (i.e. that its disposal ensures compliance with human health, climate and environmental protection requirements considered equivalent to those set out in EU legislation).

The regulatory change (based on the guidelines of the initiatives of the so-called circular economy package) was anticipated and will increase the demand for companies to adopt measures in their processes to minimise the generation of waste for disposal as much as possible, as well as encourage the further growth within the boundaries of individual EU states of industrial facilities for waste recovery.

We should also remember to evaluate these elements in time for the environmental due diligence that the CSRD proposes. Waste managers are also part of the value chain.

For any clarifications or further information, please contact our professionals in the environmental law practice Simone Cadeddu [email protected] and Paola Bologna [email protected].

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