The role of Customs in the transport of waste materials primarily focuses on supervising international transports of waste materials. The rules for transporting waste are laid down in a European Regulation (the European Regulation on the Supervision and Control of Shipments of Waste within, into and out of the European Community, or 'Waste Shipment Regulation'). The point of departure of this Regulation is that designated waste materials may only be shipped internationally with the permission of all environmental authorities involved.
Planned shipments of waste materials must be reported to the competent authority in advance. In the Netherlands, this is: Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (in Dutch: Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport). Based on the report, Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will determine whether or not permission can be granted for the waste shipment. If permission is granted, a document will be created for the shipment of the waste materials. This document must accompany the goods during shipment.
Whether waste may shipped, and if so under what conditions, depends on a number of circumstances, including the following:
- the process by which the waste material originated
- the type of waste material
- the area in which the waste material originated
- the destination of the waste material
- the possibilities to process it in the area of origin, and
- the possibilities for reuse
The Waste Shipment Regulation categorises waste materials by green and amber lists of waste materials. Specific rules for international shipment are attached to each list, with the strictest rules applying to waste materials on the amber list.