It is prohibited to export hazardous waste from the UK to countries, such as Sri Lanka, which are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The export of non-hazardous healthcare wastes for recycling to countries outside the OECD is permissible when following a prior written notification and consent procedure, and would require the consent of the competent authorities in the countries of import and export prior to shipment. No such consent has been issued in respect of exports of healthcare wastes to Sri Lanka.
The UK environmental regulators take a proactive, intelligence led approach to checking compliance with the legislation, targeting exports which pose a high risk and intervening to stop illegal exports. In 2017/18, the Environment Agency issued 158 stop notices, prohibiting the export of unsuitable waste. It stopped 367 containers of waste destined for illegal export at ports and intervened further upstream to prevent 8,974 tonnes of waste from reaching our ports. Any UK operators found to be illegally exporting waste can be fined and/or imprisoned for up to two years.