Exports of waste plastics set for 6.5% EU tariff – other materials to face tariffs too


Waste plastics destined for recycling in the European Union are set to face a 6.5% tariff due to Brexit.

In a document produced by Defra, and seen by REB Market Intelligence, plans for a no-deal Brexit are outlined.


Within the document, it shows that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the commodity waste, parings and scrap of plastics is shown to have a tariff of 6.5%.

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As a result of this, exports of plastics to European Union countries, that are currently tariff free, will be more expensive.

Exports of glass for recycling, including cullet, will face a 3% tariff.

Waste batteries will be subject to a 4.7% tariff.

However, recovered paper, the majority of scrap metal grades and RDF/SRF will remain tariff free.

While most exporters will be able to continue as before, as most legislation on waste movements is international, there could be the possibility of additional customs checks when sending material to EU nations.

The Defra document stated that EU countries are expected to introduce checks, with the Dutch already preparing them. It said that up to 5% of shipments may be inspected.

As the UK is a member of both the OECD and Basel Convention, exports to member countries of both of these organisations should stay broadly the same – apart from the tariff and custom check issues mentioned above.

Most EU countries, with the exception of Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Lithuania; Malta and Romania, are OECD Member Countries. However, UK regulations will be modified to allow exports to these EU Member States.

One additional complication for plastics exporters, is a proposal by the Norwegian Government under the Basel Convention to remove plastics from the green list of approved exports, and place them on an amber list that would require pre-notification.

In the event of a no-deal scenario from 29 March and passing of the Norway proposal in April/May 2019, exports of plastics to EU countries would then require pre-notification, be subject to a 6.5% tariff and potentially customs inspections.

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