Precautionary Approach Critical on Waste Containing Nanomaterials

– In today’s Declaration on Waste
Containing Nanomaterials
, the Center for International
Environmental Law
 (CIEL), ECOS, and
the Oeko-Institut emphasize the importance of adopting
and implementing preventive measures to protect people and the environment from
possible hazards of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) in waste streams. With
the toxicity of nanomaterials still largely unknown, a tight control of waste
containing MNMs is crucial.
Over 80 signatories worldwide from civil society groups and research
organizations have endorsed the Declaration,
demonstrating overwhelming support for the demand to categorize waste
containing manufactured nanomaterials as hazardous waste. This is necessary to
better control disposal routes of such waste in order to limit human and
environmental exposure to MNM. In addition, the Declaration calls for waste reduction at the
source, full producer responsibility, and the creation of a public EU
nano-product register.
“From creation to use to disposal, there are far too many unknowns to flood the
market with unregulated nanomaterials. The precautionary principle must be
applied immediately to avoid toxic exposure from nanomaterials, including in
waste streams,” says David Azoulay, Director of the Environmental Health
Program at CIEL. “The risks are just too great to ignore.”
“A nano-product register at the EU level is necessary for both industry and authorities
to identify the origins and destinations of waste flows of products containing
MNM,” stresses Andreas Hermann, Senior Scientist at Oeko-Institut.
A report published by the OECD in February 2016, 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 coincides with the standardization activities on lifecycle and
waste aspects of nanomaterials underway within the European Committee for
Standardization (CEN). It is also particularly relevant in the context of the
Circular Economy discussions within the European Union, as well as other
equivalent processes worldwide, such as 3Rs in China
and the Sound Material Society in Japan.
The Declaration on Waste
Concerning Nanomaterials
all relevant actors throughout the value chain of nanomaterials: governments,
research institutions, funding agencies, and companies.  
ECOS Senior Policy Officer Doreen Fedrigo-Fazio highlights: “Nano content in
waste must be taken into account by waste generators. The long delays in
revising the REACH Annexes are exacerbated by the absence of waste policy
addressing nanomaterials, thus multiplying the challenges.” 
The Declaration is one of the outcomes of a three-year
collaboration between ECOS, CIEL, and Oeko-Institut working towards expanding
the understanding of nanomaterials and bridging the gap between policy and
science. It was reinforced by a workshop in Brussels in December 2015 that looked into
the lifecycle aspects of nanomaterials.
The Declaration is now open to the public for
additional organization sign-ons. As this occurs, an updated list of support
for theDeclaration will be published in the coming
CIEL Media Contact:
David Azoulay, Geneva
Managing Attorney & Environmental Health Program Director.
Mobile +41 78 75 78 756, or dazoulay@ciel.org .
ECOS Media Contact:
Honey Kohan, ECOS Communications Officer
Tel: +32 2 893 08 64, honey.kohan@ecostandard.org
Oeko-Institut Media Contact:
Andreas Hermann, Senior Scientist.
Mobile +49 6151 8191 158, or a.hermann@oeko.de .
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is committed to strengthening
and using international law and institutions to protect the environment,
promote human health, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL is a non‐profit organization dedicated to
advocacy in the global public interest, including through legal counsel, policy
research, analysis, education, training and capacity building.
The European Environmental Citizens’ Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS)
defends the environmental interests in European and international
standardisation systems, contributing with legal and technical expertise to the
standards development or revision process. ECOS has nearly 40 environmental
NGOs across Europe as members, and is the only
environmental organisation worldwide specialized in standardisation and technical
product policy.
Oeko Institute e.V. is a leading European research and consultancy institute
working for a sustainable future. The institute is a non-profit association
developing principles and strategies for realising the vision of sustainable
development globally, nationally and locally. Based on value-oriented research,
Oeko-Institute provides consultancy for decision-makers in politics, industry
and civil society.