G6,2: Transport of waste

Truck drivers can be collectors or transporters of waste – or both. Collectors and transporters of waste must be registered in the Waste Register.

Collection Company

A haulage company can be approved and registered as a collection company with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. With the registration, the haulage company gets the right to collect source-separated industrial waste for recycling or material recovery, but not to process the waste. The collector must deliver the waste to another approved and registered collection factory, or to a recycling facility that is registered in the Waste Register.

Waste transporter

A waste transporter drives waste to the facility designated by the waste producer or the municipality. The carrier does not assume responsibility for the waste being recycled or disposed of correctly. Companies that transport waste must be registered in the Waste Register.

The waste registers.

The waste register is a publicly accessible register of recycling facilities, collection companies, transporters, dealers, and brokers in the field of waste as well as certain municipal treatment facilities. This is where the waste-producing companies can see who is allowed to collect and transport their waste.

Control of the transport of waste

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s waste control goes out on the Danish roads at regular intervals to check whether the trucks on the Danish roads comply with the rules for the transport of waste. Not everyone has the papers in order. Waste is traded in the same way as many other goods. And it’s completely legal!

Import of waste takes place, among other things, to utilize the capacity we have at Danish waste treatment facilities. For example, importing waste suitable for incineration from countries that do not have incineration plants themselves, or because of our special competences in the treatment of chemical waste in an environmentally sound manner.

The export takes place when it is economically more profitable for the companies to have their waste treated abroad. Foreign prices for waste treatment can be below the Danish price level, and therefore many companies choose to save money by transporting the waste across the border.

At the same time, there may also be types of waste that cannot be treated in Denmark, and which are therefore sent to other countries that have the technology and resources to handle it.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency controls the trucks.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for ensuring that the transport of waste takes place properly. The check typically takes place close to the border with Germany – e.g., in Southern Jutland or at the ferry crossings to Germany from Gedser and Rødby Ferry.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency receives help from the police and the Tax and Customs Administration during the inspection.

There must be order in the waste papers.

The check can be divided into a physical check of the waste that the haulers transport with and an administrative check, whether they have the papers in order and whether the companies are in the so-called waste register, which is for the companies that are approved to process and transport waste in Denmark.

Both Danish and foreign haulers must be registered in the Waste Register to be allowed to transport waste in Denmark. Years ago, there were many companies and haulers who were not registered in the waste register – including many foreign ones, but this has improved much in recent years. If the inspection discovers that the carriers do not have the papers in order, they may risk fines.

Which countries are we allowed to export to?

We are allowed to trade waste with other countries. But we are not allowed to trade with all countries as we have signed the Basel Convention. The Basel Convention prohibits the export of electronic scrap, for example, from Europe to the developing countries, yet every year tons of discarded electronics such as computers, stereos and televisions end up in Lebanon and Ghana, where there is no special control over how the waste and harmful substances are handled, and this means that the waste damages both the environment and people when it ends up there.

One of the most important goals of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s waste control is to prevent the export of waste to developing countries. Electronic waste contains, among other things, heavy metals, the environmental poison PCB and flame retardants, and if it is not handled in the right way, it can pose a major environmental problem.