Waste and TFS

The scope of the Waste and TFS Expert Team is on the practical implementation and enforcement of international and European Waste Shipment and Waste Management rules. The aim of the network is to promote compliance with the European Waste Shipment Regulation and Waste Management Directives through enforcement, to carry out joint enforcement projects, to promote exchange of knowledge, best practices and experience with the enforcement of the regulations and directives and to stimulate a uniform enforcement regime. This is done by awareness raising and capacity building activities, facilitating inter-agency and cross-border collaboration and operational enforcement activities.  Members of the cluster represent environmental authorities, but also customs and police services and other authorities that play a role in the enforcement of the transfrontier shipments and management of waste.


Key areas

  • Waste shipments
  • Enforcement
  • Plastic Waste Shipments
  • Ship Recycling
  • Waste Management and Circular Economy
  • WEEE

Related projects

  • The Big/Little TFS project

    Throughout several years and multiple IMPEL projects the initiators of the project have identified that multiple TFS inspectors together have had thousands of inspections in the field of TFS. All these inspections have boiled down to an extensive knowledge of the legislation connected to physical inspections of transboundary shipments of waste. However, despite several legislative changes and reviews of the legislation, there are still lacking a connect between legislators and inspectors out in the field when it comes to some of the details in the legislation. These “details” could be where there are certain intentions with the legislation but due to the disconnect due to long lines of communication and many agencies between legislators on a EU-level and TFS inspector and the level of which such “details” might not be brought up higher in each nations priorities towards the commission since they are just that, “details”.

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  • Strategic Network Collaboration

    A large part of the work of the IMPEL Waste & TFS cluster is focusing on compliance of trans-boundary movement of waste. Because a large volume of waste shipments is destined for countries outside Europe it is important to have good contacts with the authorities in these destination countries. Most IMPEL members have minimal contact with these far away countries. Environmental damage such as e-waste dumping in Africa and plastic dumping in Asia is unfortunately quite common and we see a high number of structural illicit traffic taking place. The market is dynamic and as a result of recent political developments such as the import ban in China and European authorities struggle to keep up with what is the situation in practice. In these cases, international collaboration is essential.

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  • Plastic Waste Shipments (previous Chinese Import Ban on Plastic Waste)

    The rise of plastic waste is rising globally over the years. With China accepting 7 million tones of plastic waste for recovery prior to 2018 this caused an up-roared shock to the global waste plastics trade. This shock resulted in neighboring Asian countries receiving the displaced waste. Although the information we have on the ultimate end destination of these waste flows is limited, it is certain that further information is needed.

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  • Waste management and Circular Economy (previous Landfill Inspections Project series)

    The Waste Management and Circular Economy project aims to build on the results and products from previous landfill projects. Moving through the waste hierarchy steps, in order to promote Eco-innovation and circular economy all while creating a level playing field and assuring a common understanding of the key points of the Waste Framework Directive in the permitting and exception process.

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  • WEEE Article 17 Free-riders Project

    According to the WEEE directive 2012/19/EU (respectively the implemented national law: e.g. ElektroG in Germany) every producer of electrical and electronic equipment has to be registered in the national register (Germany: stiftung elektro-altgeräte register) to ensure that they will fulfil their responsibilities, when their sold products become waste (e.g. WEEE).

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  • IMPEL Waste & TFS Conferences

    Many projects and activities of the Waste and TFS Expert Team are based on the European Waste Shipment Regulation (EC) Nº 1013/2006 (WSR). Being a Regulation and including a cross-border aspect, it is of high importance to have an active and practical European network of inspectors and regulators that meet on a regular basis to exchange practical experiences. Not only environmental inspectors, but also Customs and Police officers and the Judiciary. Ongoing IMPEL-TFS projects continue to show the need for establishing and above all maintaining good and practical collaboration between Member States, third countries and relevant international organisations.

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  • Ship Recycling (previous End of Life Ships)

    In 2017, 65% of ships/vessels worldwide were sold to South-Asian beaching yards for dismantling (e.g. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) which translates into significant environmental and health impacts, especially if it is taken into account that those vessels amounted 80% gross tonnage of all dismantled ships beached in 2017. The illegal export of ships for beaching in South Asia is still going on, as well as the circumvention of the waste shipment and ship recycling regulations. Bangladesh, India and Pakistan amounting almost 90% of the gross tonnage dismantled globally in 2019, and some of these ships has been either exported illegally from Europe, or “legally” by circumvention of the regulations.

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  • Implementation of the WEEE Directive

    Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with some 9 million tonnes generated in 2005, and expected to grow to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020. WEEE contains a complex mixture of materials and components, which are also partly hazardous. Not properly managed WEEE can cause major environmental and health problems. Also, the production of electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources.

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  • SPIDER WEB: Strategic Project to Increase the Detection and Disruption of Environmental Crime in the Western Balkans

    SPIDER WEB is jointly financed by the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany on the basis of a grant agreement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GmbH) within the IPA/2017 Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans Project. For your easy reference, please see the SPIDER WEB updates below:

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  • TFS Seaport project I-II

    The aim of these projects was the improvement of the European enforcement of waste shipment regulation as laid down in EU Regulation 259/93 and the Basel convention, by improved cooperation between the enforcement authorities.

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  • Verification of Waste Destinations

    The project aimed to increase cooperation and information exchange on the verification of waste destinations within the framework of EU Regulation 259/93 (Waste Shipment Regulation WSR) on the supervision and control of waste shipments, by performing inspections in the participating countries and follow the waste streams to their final destination.

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  • Transfrontier shipments of E-waste

    Practicability and Enforceability of the WEEE Recast Proposal (2009) IMPEL previously developed a checklist to examine the practicability and enforceability (P&E) issues of proposed and existing environmental law. In December 2008 the Commission adopted a Recast Proposal for the WEEE Directive. This report describes an assessment of the P&E issues arising from the proposal based on the IMPEL checklist. The report presents a synthesis of the results of the questionnaire responses and workshop discussions and highlights a wide range of P&E issues.

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  • EU – Africa collaboration

    In February 2008 IMPEL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention (SBC). Within the framework of this MoU, IMPEL TFS and the SBC agreed to collaborate on component 4 of the SBC’s E-wastes to Africa project. This project, launched in 2009 aims to equip West Africa and other African countries to be able to tackle the growing problem of e-waste import coming from industrialized countries and thereby protect the health of citizens. The project has 4 components:

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  • IMPEL – Asia collaboration

    Members of the IMPEL TFS Steering Committee annually attend workshops of the Asia Network on the Prevention of Illegally Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and of the Regional Enforcement Network for Chemicals and Waste (REN).

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  • Waste sites

    In view of problematic waste streams worldwide, notably of electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles and their components from Europe to Africa, experts agreed on the necessity to target more effectively the sources of illegal waste streams and the “upstream” facilities where such waste is collected, stored and/or treated prior to export.

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  • Doing the Right Things for Waste Shipment Inspections

    This IMPEL-project explores the usefulness of the Doing the Right Thing (DTRT) methodology for waste shipment inspections. The aim is to develop a practical tool, based on the DTRT Guidance Book, which can help improve the organisation of waste shipment inspections by competent authorities in the IMPEL member countries. Three competent authorities from different IMPEL member countries will each apply the DTRT Guidance Book on waste shipment inspections and test how DTRT can support the organisation of those inspections. By organisation is meant all the different steps of planning, executing and evaluating inspections as described in the DTRT Environmental Inspection Cycle. The tests will be set up taking into account the findings and recommendations of the study on specific inspection requirements for waste shipments. The results of the testing phase will be discussed and used to develop a guidance tool based on the DTRT Guidance Book, which is suitable for the specific area of organising waste shipment inspections.

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  • IMPEL-TFS NCP Best Practice meetings

    International cooperation and alignment is very important when it comes to the enforcement of the European Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) (EC) No 1013/2006 as stated in article 50. Previous and running IMPEL-TFS (TransFrontier Shipments of waste) projects showed that it is essential to work together as competent authorities. The enforcement deficit of the EU waste shipment regulation remains serious. To improve the collaboration and alignment of enforcement, frequent contact between the European enforcement authorities is necessary. This project facilitates the exchange of information and experiences, case studies, discussions on interpretations and inspection approaches between the TFS National Contact Points (NCP’s).

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  • Enforcement Actions

    The Enforcement Actions project was set up for the following reasons: Competent authorities expressed the need for a formalised project framework in order to integrate enforcement inspections in their own countries; International cooperation is essential to tackle international environmental problems; and The network of enforcers in the field needs to be maintained and extended to cover all Member States to ensure an effective inspection regime.

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  • Waste shipment inspection planning

    The new Art. 50 (2a) of the Waste Shipment Regulation 1013/2006 (WSR) lays down that by 1 January 2017, EU Member States shall ensure establishment of one or more inspection plans (IPs) in respect of their entire geographical territory. These plans refer to inspections under Art. 50(2) WSR, i.e. of establishments, undertakings, brokers and dealers in accordance with Art. 34 of Directive 2008/98/EC, and of shipments of waste and of the related recovery or disposal. During the IMPEL-TFS conference of 2014 participants expressed the need to develop a standard format/template or at least a guideline for an inspection plan in line with the requirements of the WSR which should make IPs also more comparable. They also supported an exchange of existing plans, experiences and priorities.

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  • TFS Prosecutors Project

    The compliance deficit of the Basel Convention and its European implementation, the European Waste Shipment Regulation (1013/2006) or ‘WSR’ is very serious. Figures indicate that about 20% of all waste shipments are in violation. The EU Directive 2008/99 on the protection of the environment through criminal law requires member states to also enforce the WSR by criminal law.

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  • Enforcement Actions I – III

    Requiring member states to inspect shipments of waste and too co-operate with each other is all part of The Waste Shipment Regulation. Some of the objectives of this project are to verify waste destination and the treatment at their destination within or outside Europe; as well as To work towards an adequate level of inspections in all Member States and a consistent level of enforcement at all exit points of the EU. Key activities included carrying out various enforcement actions, knowledge exchange and capacity building and updating existing tools.

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