UK recycled plastic shipments to EU may not comply under draft European Commission rules

LDPE film

New draft European Commission rules may mean that UK recycled plastic shipments to the EU may not comply.

According to a briefing document on the draft regulations produced by Plastics Recyclers Europe and seen by REB Market Intelligence, it believes that the UK would count as an OECD country and would be subject to tougher import rules than EU nations.


Plastics Recyclers Europe have been given a revised draft of Correspondents’ Guideline No 12, which concerns the shipment of plastic waste by the European Commission.

In the briefing document, it states that the Commission will classify the export/import to OECD countries, including the UK, as meaning that shipments of Y48 and AC300 (other and hazardous plastics) as requiring prior informed consent.

B3011 shipments of plastics will fall under the general information requirements regime, but a new EU3011 classification will be created for intra-EU shipments.

However, to meet the B3011 classification, either of the following will be required:

  • Consist of 98% of a single non-halogenated polymer, and no more than 2% of other non-plastics wastes and other polymer; or
  • Consist of 98% of a mixture of PE, PP, and PET, and no more than 2% of other non-plastics waste and other polymers than PE, PP, and PET.

But the EU3011 change is less tough and will require the shipments to either:

  • Consist of 94% of non-halogenated polymers and no more than 6% of other non-plasticswaste and halogenated polymers, or
  • Consist of 94% of PVC polymer and no more than 6% of other non-plastics waste and non- halogenated polymers.

Plastics Recyclers Europe said in the document that the 2% threshold will be very hard to meet for OECD countries and most shipments will require prior informed consent, even for B3011 plastics. It wrote:

“For shipments of waste with OECD countries, such as the UK, it is imperative to determine if the 2% threshold is met. Again, this should be performed by object-based sorting and documentation of the findings. Given the extremely low level of 2% it is likely that most waste shipments will not comply.

“For all those wastes that do not comply with the 2% limit destined for- or originating from- OECD countries prior informed consent procedures should be started as soon as possible to avoid disruptions once the final Correspondents’ Guideline No 12 is published.”

Plastics Recyclers Europe is of the view that these provisions are unlikely to change when the final Correspondents’ Guideline No 12 document is published.

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