Waste Export: Brexit Briefing Note

The document Waste Export: Brexit Briefing Note details the arguments for RDF export to continue after Brexit. The briefing note makes the argument that as the UK moves towards a more circular economy, RDF exports provide a flexible, and environmentally advantageous treatment route, providing a safety valve for the waste management industry and allowing the UK government time to develop future waste policy.

The briefing note also explains that sending RDF to other European countries for treatment is better overall for the environment than sending the waste to landfill. Over 700,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions were saved in 2016 by exporting RDF for treatment in Europe instead. This is equivalent to taking over 740,000 cars off the road.

If Brexit results in operational and/or legislative barriers to RDF export, it would mean more waste going to landfill in the UK each year. That would be to disregard the waste hierarchy, worsen the environmental impact, increase costs and put jobs at risk.

To ensure that the environmental and economic benefits of RDF export continue to be realised, the document calls on the UK Government and EU to:

  • maintain the current legislative framework that allows RDF to be exported;
  • ensure that any new customs process does not impede the export of RDF at the UK’s borders, and that there are sufficient staff and resources to implement new customs processes; and
  • ensure that a trade deal is reached with the EU (and EEA) which provides for a 0% tariff on RDF export.

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