Environmental Law

Waste Import / Export Regulations 2017 now operational.

The South African Minister of Environmental Affairs has published regulations for the Control of the Import and Export of Waste on 21 January 2019.

The regulations aims to legislate the cradle-to-grave principle, by prohibiting the import, export, transport and re-import of waste without following the legislative requirements of both the import and export countries.

In addition, it prohibits the import of waste for landfill purposes as well as the import of hazardous waste from developed countries.

The import of the “hazardous part” of medical waste as well as mixed waste streams is also prohibited.

While this might seem a bit broad, there are exceptions, as the import of scrap metal, waste from normal ship operations, galley(kitchen) waste from aircraft, ships, trains and vehicles as well as the import of second hand goods is not affected.

The regulations sets conditions for permit applications for four categories of waste control which could be considered for import / export and places a penalty on offenders of a maximum of 15 years imprisonment or an “appropriate” fine or both. The categories are import, export, transit and trans-boundary movement of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

The regulations came into operation on 21 January 2019 as published in Government Gazette 42175.

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