Exporting Hazardous Waste

What Is This Type of Waste?

Hazardous waste refers to any unwanted substances or items that are dangerous or potentially harmful to your health or the environment. These items can be:

  • Liquid
  • Solid
  • Gaseous materials contained
  • Sludge

Why Is It Shipped?

Hazardous wastes are sometimes shipped to or from other countries for:

  • Treatment
  • Disposal
  • Recycling

Some countries may benefit economically from importing these wastes as they can provide raw materials for recycling. When these wastes provide used products, the used products can be refurbished and reused.

Recognized Trading & Shipping specializes in the transboundary movement of waste for recovery. We purchase hazardous wastes containing metals and deliver them for recycling to Hongjing Resource Co, Ltd., which is a company based in the Republic of Korea.

Waste Export & Disposal - Avoid Unsafe Recycling With Our Services 

The fact that waste may have value is counterintuitive. By definition, waste is destined to be abandoned by its owner as they get rid of it. If certain waste can be sold for a price, it is because it contains a value.

The value of the hazardous waste export is positive when the anticipated treatment cost of the waste is less than the anticipated recovery revenues. Recovery may be material or energy recovery. If the recovery of the waste is impossible or very costly, then the value of the waste will be negative. Waste that cannot be recovered is disposed of--either by incineration or landfill. The value of the waste is based upon these two components.


Material Recovery

Material recovery enables companies or individuals to:

  1. Recover the material from the waste
  2. Reuse the waste in the same way as when it was first used
  3. Reuse the waste in a different way

When material is recovered through recycling, it is referred to as secondary raw material (SRM) as opposed to virgin raw material (VRM). The closer the secondary material is to the virgin raw material in terms of technical characteristics, the closer the prices of SRMs and VRMs will be to each other. This is due to the fact that the raw material can be increasingly substituted by recycled secondary material.

Technology currently has its limitations as recyclable materials--such as plastic bottles--can lose up to 75% of their value after their first use. This loss of value may explain why the recycling model can be described as uneconomic. Economic agents seeking to maximize their profit turn to other solutions. Virgin raw material can become scarcer in relation to demand. In this case, the potential value of the waste will increase through a substitution effect.

Waste after recycling or other treatment also contains an energy potential value. It is the amount of energy that can be recovered per mass of waste incinerated. In recent decades, waste incineration with energy recovery has become increasingly common--especially for plastics with particularly high energy potential. Market conditions in the energy sector contribute to the determination of the value of waste.

Shipment of Hazardous Waste to Other Countries

Not all of the hazardous waste that is managed in the United States comes from outside the United States. Similarly, not all hazardous waste is fully treated in the United States. Hazardous wastes are sometimes shipped to other countries for treatment, disposal, or recycling. With an agreement between the exporting country and the receiving country, it is possible to ensure that the waste is reused or recycled in an environmentally-sound manner. Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes are based on environmental and economic grounds. These can help to ensure that waste is treated in a more environmentally sound manner. Some countries see a good opportunity to export waste to a country that has a better technical capacity to manage it. It may also be advantageous for countries to import wastes. This is especially the case when they provide raw materials for recycling or used products. These raw materials can be refurbished and reintegrated into the market.


When hazardous wastes are shipped to several countries, the risk of mismanagement may be higher due to:

  • Unsafe transport
  • Recycling
  • Disposal practices

Thus, importers and exporters of hazardous wastes must follow national laws and regulations. Especially the relevant international agreements and regulations established by other countries involved in:

  • The import of hazardous wastes
  • The export of hazardous wastes
  • Any related transit of hazardous wastes

Hazardous Waste Export Regulations

The Basel Convention--adopted on the international level on March 22, 1989--provides a framework and a section that limits such waste movements. It calls on the 184 Parties to observe basic principles such as:

  • Proximity to disposal
  • Environmentally sound management
  • Priority for recovery
  • Prior informed consent for the import of potentially hazardous substances

It also calls on the Parties to take into account the need to ensure that waste is disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Article C(2001)107/Final of the OECD Council concerning the revision of Article C(92)39/Final on the control of transboundary movements of wastes destined for recovery operations applies within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) area.

The OECD Program

The United States participates in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) program. As a member country, it adheres to the provisions of the Multilateral Agreement on Waste. The latter covers shipments of hazardous waste for recycling between member countries. With respect to the import and export of hazardous waste, the United States also has bilateral waste agreements with:

  • Canada
  • Mexico

Other countries have signed independent commitments with the US authorities. Among them are:

  • Costa Rica
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines

Independent Commitments With The USA Means This

These allow shipments of waste to the United States for recycling or disposal. In accordance with US law, the current regulatory provisions applicable to domestic imports and exports of hazardous waste are detailed in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 262 Subpart H - Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste for Recovery or Disposal.

Recognized Trading & Shipping is an agent of HongJing Resource Co, Ltd. These are receiving facilities located in South Korea. RTS specializes in recycling and reprocessing hazardous waste in a manner that has a positive impact on the environment. It also provides a pipeline of alloys needed by industries that rely heavily on these alloys. Our company has more than 15 years of experience in the transboundary movement of hazardous waste. We work in compliance with the OECD, the Basel Convention, 40th CFR section text, Chapter 22 (USC), and the German Waste Act.

Waste Treatment Costs

The cost of upgrading decreases as technology advances. Cost efficiency and MPS are increasingly similar to VPPs. For waste that cannot be recovered or is too difficult to recover, the potential value of the waste will be negative. It will depend almost entirely on costs as there is no revenue. These treatment costs will be strongly influenced by existing waste management regulations and taxes. The more stringent the environmental regulations, the higher the treatment costs will be. This argument is of course only valid in the short term. This is because, in theory, in the long term companies adapt by adopting more environmentally friendly behaviors and technologies.

The potential value of the waste will be at the center of waste export or import decisions. To maximize the potential value of their waste, agents may decide to export and sell the waste in countries with lower treatment costs and higher demand. China and India are examples of primary importer countries with lower treatment costs and higher demand. Conversely, the economy and world trade strongly influence the potential value of waste, through an overall demand effect and through the price of raw and secondary materials in terms of import/export. 

Recognized Trading & Shipping, Inc. Agency Is Your Best Choice

Trade-in waste appears to stem from a rational strategy of optimizing the value of waste. Economic agents demand waste in order to be able to profit from a waste treatment activity. They also want to recover materials at a low cost. Yet, this strategy may pose an environmental problem. Some waste is exported to countries that do not have the capacity to treat it without endangering the natural environment and the health of their population. To overcome these difficulties, waste flows are controlled by customs and governed by international conventions such as the Basel Convention, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste to developing countries. However, many cases of illegal flows prove that parallel trade persists.

Recognized Trading & Shipping is aware of the negative environmental impact that the transport of hazardous waste can have if improperly handled. We take all the necessary measures to properly segregate and store the waste. We comply with all applicable laws and amendments during the entire time that RTS and HongJing are in charge of it. An integral part of HongJing's process is contained in their pollution prevention facility. It uses an intensive flue gas cleaning system to ensure that the process continues to be environmentally friendly.

Get in Touch!

Need more information about an amendment part, an environmental directive, or the receiving facility? Looking for spent catalyst recycling services or an environment-friendly disposal recommendation? Whatever your needs are, we will be happy to get in touch with you. You will be contacted by one of our representatives within the next 48 hours and be offered the best services in the industry when you contact us.

Copyright © Recognized Trading & Shipping, Inc. 2020