This page provides information on the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989 which New Zealand ratified on 20 December 1994.
About the Basel Convention
The 1989 Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal aims to reduce the amount of waste produced by signatories and regulates the international traffic in hazardous wastes. It requires prior approval of hazardous waste imports and exports, and requires exporting countries to ensure that hazardous waste will be managed 'in an environmentally sound manner'. The Convention emphasises the principle of 'generator responsibility' for disposal of wastes, and requires parties to minimise the environmental effects of the movement and disposal of hazardous waste.
The Basel Convention also allows countries to enter into regional agreements with different requirements, provided that the agreements are no less environmentally sound. New Zealand has entered into two such agreements:
1. The Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region (Waigani Convention), which regulates sending hazardous waste in the South Pacific.
2. Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development Decision C(2001)107/FINAL (OECD Hazardous Waste Decision), which regulates sending hazardous waste between OECD countries.
Importing or exporting hazardous waste
New Zealand has implemented the Basel Convention, Waigani Convention, and OECD Hazardous Waste Decision in a number of ways.
One of the main ways is through the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No 2) 2004 [New Zealand Legislation website]. This Order requires permits from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to import or export waste in line with these agreements. For information on whether you need to apply for a permit, please visit the EPA website.
You can also get advice on the classification of waste materials and the application process by contacting the Hazardous Substances team at the EPA at email@example.com.