The new electronic platform for waste gives rise to great concern

The use of the e-SIR electronic waste shipment platform has been mandatory since September 1. The implementation of this electronic system is necessary in the interest of tracing waste from the point of production to the point of final treatment and has a major impact on both producers and managers. However, this platform is not sufficiently operational due to lack of processing capacity, continuous errors and difficulty of use. All of this makes it extremely complicated to carry out the digital procedures set out in the legislation, resulting in legal uncertainty and failure to meet the objectives of this legislation.

Luis Palomino, Secretary General – Spanish Association of Hazardous Waste and Soil Recovery Companies (ASEGRE)

In June 2020, Royal Decree 553/2020 was published in the Official State Gazette. This legislation regulates waste shipment within Spain. It clarifies some aspects of the procedure set out in the previous Royal Decree 180/2015 and ensures that that the waste shipment system is consistent with EU regulations.

The new legislation seeks to improve the traceability of shipments from the place of origin to the final destination of waste, thereby ensuring correct treatment. It also clarifies electronic procedures, and facilitates the monitoring and control of shipments by the competent authorities.

All this has come after the European Commission recommended improving instruments for information and traceability in waste management. In addition, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office began to request more information related to accidents at waste treatment facilities.

One year later, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge published a timely document that provided answers to frequently asked questions on waste shipment, for the purpose of clarifying certain aspects of this Royal Decree. The document includes answers to questions on scope of application, the shipment operator, the treatment contract, prior notification and the identification document.

The Ministry’s publication came at an important time due to the fact that the e-SIR electronic waste shipment platform was being developed. The implementation of this electronic procedure has major implications for both producers and managers due to the fact that it concerns shipments of waste subject to prior notification. Initially, use of the e-SIR platform was planned to be mandatory as of July 1 but this date was put back to September 1 due to technical problems.

Despite the postponement, the electronic platform continued to malfunction on entering into
operation on September 1. This is no trivial matter, given that the aim of the digital procedure is to enable waste to be traced from the point of production to the point of treatment, in order to ensure the most appropriate treatment in accordance with the characteristics of the waste. The digitisation of this process is, therefore, the cornerstone of achieving a more circular economy.

Published in: Nº82 FuturENVIRO July – September 2021