The EU is sealing its borders and… banning the export of garbage. Penalties for environmental crimes will be tougher

Luc Williams

They will come into force on Monday two new EU regulations: : regulation on shipments of waste and a directive tightening environmental law in the Union. Both initiatives are part of European Green Deal.

Ban on exporting waste outside the EU

The regulation is intended to respond to a growing problem export of waste outside the EU. In 2023, 35 million tons of European waste went to third countries, the most – to Turkey. According to EC data, over the last two decades waste export increased by 72 percent Half of the garbage went to non-member countries OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) bringing together 38 highly developed and democratic countries.

Under the new regulation, exports of waste from the EU will only be allowed if exporters can prove that in third countries, waste is properly managed. The new requirements will come into force on May 21, 2027.

Developing countries under special supervision

The regulation pays special attention to developing countries. Waste disposal to non-OECD countries from November 21, 2026, it will be banned for two and a half years. After this period, exports will be subject to the provisions of the regulation, so exports will be possible provided they are managed in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The regulation will increase supervision of waste transport and will regulate their movement also between member states. He will take it too fight against garbage smuggling. It will be established for this purpose EU Waste Enforcement Groupconsisting of the environmental protection, customs and police authorities of the member countries, which will be supported by European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Unification of penalties

In turn, after the new directive enters into force, Member States will have to introduce it into their criminal law a more precise definition of the category of environmental crimesand toughen penalties, which are the penalties for committing them. Certain violations such as illegal trade in chemicals or mercury and illegal ship recycling will have to be treated as crimes in all EU Member States. Marketing introduction illegally harvested wood or products made from it will be punishable by imprisonment for at least five years, a maximum fines imposed on companies will not be lower than 5%. their total turnover or EUR 40 million.

Causing especially serious damage to the natural environment will have to be treated as an aggravated crime and subject to higher penalties.

The unification of categories and levels of penalties in member states is intended to prevent environmental crimes in itself, because data breaches will be treated similarly in all countries.

Magdalena Cedro from Brussels


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.