B3011 plastics set to be permitted for export to non-OECD countries from 29 July

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Malaysia plastic inspections
Malaysian officials inspect two containers containing US recycled plastics

A statutory instrument laid before Parliament should allow for the resumption of B3011 plastics exports to non-OECD countries.

The International Waste Shipments (Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 and 1418/2007) Regulations 2021 statutory instrument was laid before Parliament on 1 July and changes the regulations so that from 29 July 2021, exports of B3011 to non-OECD countries can resume.

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As a result of the end of the Brexit transition period, regulations were copied over that did not permit these exports from 1 January this year.

Now seven months later, these regulations means that exports of B3011 plastics to countries such as Malaysia can begin again.

However, there is a possibility that the measure could be delayed if an MP or Lord requests debate time for this statutory instrument, although typically these go through without debate.

B3011 plastics are a Basel Convention regulation that means you can only ship the material if it meets these criteria:

  • a single polymer plastic
  • almost free from contamination and other types of waste, including other waste plastics
  • recycled by R3 – recycling or reclaiming organic substances that are not used as solvents in an environmentally sound manner

Basel code B3011 covers the following waste plastics:

  • non-halogenated polymers
  • cured resins or condensation products
  • fluorinated polymers – but only those specifically named and excluding post-consumer wastes

You can use the B3011 code for a mixture of waste:

  • polyethylene (PE)
  • polypropylene (PP)
  • polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

But only if:

  • each material will be recycled separately by R3 in an environmentally sound manner at the destination facility
  • the mixture is almost free from contamination and other types of waste

If B3011 waste plastic will not be recycled by R3, you must ship it under notification controls and receive consent before shipping. You must use the code Y48 (non-hazardous waste plastics not classed as B3011). For example, polyurethane foam that is incinerated for energy generation (R1).

You must ship all other waste plastics under notification controls and receive consent before you ship them. This includes:

  • polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
  • all other hazardous waste plastics

You must use the code AC300 for hazardous waste plastics.

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