Judgment in Case C-315/20 Regione Veneto v Plan Eco Srl Is a classic case discussing the scope for Member States to restrict transboundary movements of waste under the Waste Shipments Regulation 1013/2006 (‘WSR). As summarised (2) by Advocate General Rantos, it raises the question whether the classification, in one Member State, of mixed municipal waste in accordance with the European Waste Catalogue (EWC), following mechanical treatment which has not substantially altered the original properties of that waste, interferes with the application of the EU legislation on the shipment of that waste to another Member State.
Transport company Plan Eco submitted to the Veneto Region a request for prior consent to the shipment of 2000 tonnes of mixed municipal waste produced in Italy by Futura Srl to a cement factory in Slovenia (cement kilns are a classic destination for waste for combustion). That waste, of which parties agreed it was not hazardous, was treated mechanically by Futura, with a view to its use in co-combustion, and classified by Futura, after that treatment, under code 19 12 12 (Bottom ash and slag (incinerator bottom ash)) of the EWC. The Veneto Region suggested the waste was mixed municipal waste (code 20 03 01 EWC) and objected to shipment on the grounds that national waste management plans prescribe that mixed municipal waste be recovered in one of the nearest appropriate installations to the place of its production or collection. A Veneto Region facility had signalled it had capacity to deal with the waste. A classic scenario therefore of a region wanting to keep the waste within its borders so as to satisfy the waste need for local installations.
The Waste Shipments Regulation had, controversially, inserted Article 3(5) which provides that shipments of ‘mixed municipal waste (waste entry 20 03 01) collected from private households, including where such collection also covers such waste from other producers, to recovery or disposal facilities’ are, in accordance with that regulation, subject to the same provisions (Article 11’s principles of self-sufficiency and proximity in particular) as shipments of waste destined for disposal: that means, it gives national and regional authorities more room for manoeuvre to refuse shipments than they would have for waste destined for recovery operations. The Court had earlier (Case C-292/12 Ragn-Sells) confirmed that applicability of Article 11 WSR in principle, without properly addressing the free movement of goods and free movement of services implications.
 the Court turns, frustratingly (for in my view binding statutory law should be included in the provisions proper of secondary law, not in their recitals) to Recital 33 of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98, to hold that mixed municipal waste as referred to in Article 3(5) WSR remains mixed municipal waste even when it has been subject to a waste treatment operation that has not substantially altered its properties. Veneto’s room for refusal therefore widens.
The judgment in this case takes on a new meaning within the context of Brexit, for quite a few of these waste streams have the United Kingdom as their ultimate destination, hence enjoying principled free movement of goods under WTO and UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement rules.