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Advocacy Alert – Canadian Waste Exports to China

By December 22, 2017 News, Regulatory

Environment and Climate Change Canada has released an Advocacy Alert regarding exports of waste materials and recyclables to China and scrap materials captured under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations.

Below is the full text from the alert. We also have linked the PDF version here:

Link to PDF Version

 

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Gatineau (Quebec)

December 14, 2017

Notice: Exports of waste materials and recyclables to China and scrap materials captured under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations

Madam, Sir,

On October 21, 2016, amendments to the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) came into force that expand what is captured as “hazardous waste” and “hazardous recyclable material” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the EIHWHRMR.

Specifically, waste and recyclable material being exported for disposal or recycling are now considered hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material if:

  • they are defined as, or considered to be, “hazardous” under the legislation of the importing country or that of a transit country;
  • their importation is prohibited under the legislation of the importing country; or
  • they are one of the “hazardous wastes” or “other wastes”1 in the Basel Convention, and the importing country is a party to the Basel Convention.

As a result, some shipments of waste and material such as metals, plastics, paper, and other household-generated wastes may now be considered hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 and the EIHWHRMR when exported overseas for recycling or disposal purposes. Therefore, in the case of a captured waste or material by the EIHWHRMR, a permit issued by the Waste Reduction and Management Division at Environment and Climate Change Canada would be required before the shipment leaves Canada.

In July 2017, China notified the World Trade Organization of plans to update China’s Catalogue of Solid Wastes Forbidden to Import into China by the end of 2017. This proposal broadens the import prohibition to include used materials, including paper and mixed plastics. The Government of Canada has requested some clarification on the full range of the proposed measure and awaits a response from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. Text of China’s submission to the World Trade Organization can be found at the following link: https://goo.gl/3pu6yv.

Note that once the proposed import prohibitions are fully implemented by China, it would mean that waste or material subject to these prohibitions will not be allowed to be imported into China.

 

Under Canadian law, such waste or material will also be considered hazardous under the EIHWHRMR and will require an export permit under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 if China is the intended destination for that shipment. However, given that China has already announced its intention to ban the import of these wastes, it is likely that Canada would not be able to obtain the required consent from China to authorize such an export. In such a situation, shipments that proceed without proper permits will be considered unlawful exports. This means that, the exporter will be required to make all necessary arrangements to return the shipment to Canada or to an alternative destination and could be prosecuted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Acts, 1999 for violation of the provisions of the Act and the EIHWHRMR.

A consolidated version of the EIHWHRMR is available on Justice Canada’s website at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-149/. More information on how to comply with the EIHWHRMR is available at https://goo.gl/3xzPq2.

Environment and Climate Change Canada will issue updates as new information on China’s prohibition becomes available. Additional information on managing and reducing waste is available at https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-reducing-waste.html.

Environment and Climate Change Canada welcomes the further distribution of this notice.

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Waste Reduction and Management Division
Environmental Protection Branch Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St-Joseph Blvd, 9th floor
Gatineau (Quebec) K1A 0H3
[email protected]
www.ec.gc.ca/gdd-mw/

1 “Other wastes” under the Basel Convention includes “waste collected from households” and “residues arising from the incineration of household waste”. Hazardous waste is defined under Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Basel Convention. Text of the Basel Convention can be found at: http://www.basel.int/TheConvention/Overview/TextoftheConvention/tabid/1275/Default.aspx