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April 20, 2016

European Organizations Issue Declaration on Waste Containing Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On April 13, 2016, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the European Environmental Citizens’ Organization for Standardization (ECOS), and the Oeko-Institut issued a press release announcing the availability of the Declaration on Waste Containing Nanomaterials.  According to the press release, over 80 signatories have endorsed the Declaration, “demonstrating overwhelming support for the demand to categorize waste containing manufactured nanomaterials as hazardous waste.”  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) February 2016 report, Nanomaterials in Waste Streams:  Current Knowledge on Risks and Impacts, “underpins the Declaration’s call to limit the potential presence of nanotechnology in waste streams.”  The Declaration calls for governments, research and innovation funding institutions, and companies to:

  • Implement full producer responsibility to ensure safe management of waste containing manufactured nanomaterials;
  • Restrict transboundary movements of waste containing certain manufactured nanomaterials;
  • Enable transparent quantification and characterization of waste flows containing manufactured nanomaterials through a European Union (EU)-wide public nano-product registry;
  • Stimulate innovation on waste prevention;
  • Foster the development of safe and effective recycling and disposal technologies for products containing manufactured nanomaterials;
  • Develop and establish verifiable end-of-waste criteria for recyclable materials containing manufactured nanomaterials; and
  • Innovators should explore how advanced properties of manufactured nanomaterials can be employed in support of the circular economy without introducing new environmental risks or aggravating existing ones.