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One in four substances recovered from waste non-compliant with REACH


Results from a Forum pilot enforcement project on substances recovered from waste reveal that 26 % of checked substances are in breach of REACH.

Helsinki, 8 November 2022 – Inspectors checked 46 cases to find out if substances recovered from waste met the conditions for exemption from REACH registration. Firstly, they examined if the recovered and registered substances are the same and secondly if information on safe use was available.

Inspectors also confirmed that safety data sheets (SDSs) were provided with recovered substances and mixtures in 96 % of the cases. When SDSs were lacking information, the main concern was unclear substance identity. 37 % of the inspected cases did not meet the main CLP Regulation requirements on classification, labelling and packaging.

The non-compliances found during the pilot project led to written advice, fines and administrative orders.

The cooperation between the national REACH and waste inspectors and other national inspectorates was a key element in this project, with collaboration such as joint inspections in 70 % of cases.


  • Waste operators placing recovered substances on the market should contact national authorities and helpdesks to gain knowledge about their substances. They should also be aware how the substances will be used by their customers.
  • National authorities enforcing REACH and the Waste Framework Directive should strengthen cooperation so they can jointly monitor the situation of recovered substances placed on the market and improve safety for humans and the environment.
  • The Enforcement Forum should pursue this subject and consider including it in the scope of an EU-wide enforcement project in the future.
  • ECHA should look into revising the current Guidance on waste and recovered substances.
  • The legal text would benefit from a revision to mitigate the shortcomings identified during the project. The European Commission should also work on harmonising the EU’s end of waste criteria.


This pilot project assessed the compliance of recovered materials against REACH Article 2(7)(d). It was the first time the Enforcement Forum explored the interface between REACH and the Waste Framework Directive. The pilot project ran in 11 Member States.