Danish Shipping: EU’s new rules on waste export open doors for responsible ship recycling

Published in Offshore Energy

The new agreement on waste shipments between the European Council and Parliament will make it possible to responsibly recycle EU-flagged ships outside the EU and OECD, trade and employer association Danish Shipping said.


On November 16, 2023, the political agreement was reached in order to ensure that the European Union takes greater responsibility for its waste and does not export its environmental challenges to third countries.

The rules will also facilitate the use of waste as a resource. The agreement is a contribution to the goal of the European Green Deal of reducing pollution and advancing the circular economy.

“The agreement reached today by the two institutions shows our joint commitment to take responsibility of our waste challenges, rather than exporting our problems abroad. Once in force, the new rules will ensure that waste is shipped for use as a resource, increasing the security of supply of raw materials for industry. Businesses and national authorities will benefit from more efficient and digitalised procedures. We will also step up EU’s response against waste trafficking, combating one of the most harmful environmental crimes,” Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said.

Specifically, the new Waste Shipment Regulation has three goals: ensuring that the EU does not export its waste challenges to third countries; making it easier to transport waste for recycling and reuse in the EU; and better tackling illegal waste shipments.

Of special relevance to the shipping community, this new agreement will make it possible to responsibly recycle EU-flagged ships operating in­ter­na­tio­nal­ly at facilities outside the EU and OECD, provided that these facilities have EU approval, according to Danish Shipping.

The trade association expects that the deal will raise the standards at ship recycling facilities around the world.

“We expect that a growing number of ships will be recycled over the coming years, so I am very pleased that an agreement on waste shipments has been reached. Recycling of ships must always be done in a safe, responsible and en­viron­men­tal­ly sound manner and we believe this new agreement will help secure exactly that,” Nina Porst, Director of Climate, Environment and Safety at Danish Shipping, commented.

The facilities outside the EU will now – if they meet EU standards – be able to receive EU approval, which gives them an incentive to seek to attract customers with EU-flagged ships. This will raise the quality of ship recycling facilities around the world.

“As part of our dec­ar­bo­ni­sa­tion process, an increasing number of older, less energy-efficient ships will need to be recycled. Increasing the global facility capacity for recycling ships according to the high EU safety and environmental standards is good news for all parties,” Porst explained.

The agreement is expected to be formally approved by the Council and the European Parliament before the end of the year.



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