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UBA guide for exports of plastic waste

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has published an implementation guide for companies to help interpret legally uncertain terms.


According to UBA, the 56-page publication describes in detail the plastic waste grades that may be exported, outlines the procedure from collection to classification to export, and names contact points where companies can get practical help. For plastic waste, new entries had been adopted to improve controls and monitoring of transboundary shipments of plastic waste. This is intended to counter illegal waste shipments, UBA says of the publication. The stricter requirements were incorporated into the Waste Shipment Ordinance (VVA) on January 1, 2021. The new entries define which plastic waste can be shipped as free trade goods and which are subject to notification. According to the UBA, they also include specifications for the purity of plastic waste, but contained indeterminate legal terms such as "virtually free of impurities and other types of waste" that required interpretation by the implementing states and communities of states. Therefore, a concretization with regard to the qualitative requirements for plastic waste was necessary. According to the UBA, clear limit values must be defined to show whether the waste meets these requirements or whether it is subject to a notification requirement. The report now presented is intended to provide a general overview of the material flow of plastic waste, potential definition and specification bases, and current handling at inspections and at sorting and recycling facilities. In addition, the results of workshops and interviews with representatives of industry and public authorities are intended to show examples of how the new plastic entries of the VVA can be implemented and applied in practice. UBA has also published a FAQ list on the transboundary shipment of plastic waste together with the implementation guide.

Further information: to download the UBA implementation guide, to download the FAQ list (in German)


  • UBA (Feb. 3, 2023)
  • Photo: Pixabay


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