Indicator 7. Share of non-recycled ship-generated waste

What this indicator measures

Ship-generated waste (SGW) and cargo residues are incidentally regulated within the regime of marine pollution and the prevention of ship-source pollution, and is heavily reliant on the provision of adequate port reception facilities (PRF).

The share of non-recycled SGW out of a total of SGW received at PRF gives, as an output marker, an indication about the performance level of sorting and processing facilities of SGW in a port area. Not the quantity of SGW received at a PRF, but rather that performance level is a given for possible benchmarking between similar port types.

Following the obligations of the MARPOL Convention and the European Directive 2019/883/EU on PRFs for the delivery of waste from ships (also called the PRF Directive), all European commercial port and waterway authorities are to provide adequate PRFs for SGW. In the Flemish Region the PRF Directive is regulated in the VLAREMA legislation – subsection 5.2.10.

Which SGW categories qualify for this indicator?

The PRF Directive requires all ships, which call at an EU port, to deliver all their SGW[1] to a PRF. Based on a study ‘The Management of SGW On-board Ships’ (by CE Delft commissioned by EMSA, 2016) the following SGW, which are generated during the normal operation of a ship, [MARPOL Annex I, IV and V] are most qualified for Indicator 6 :

[1] Except when the vessel has sufficient dedicated storage capacity for all waste that has been accumulated and will be accumulated during the intended voyage until the next port of call.

  • Oily bilge water
  • Oily residues
  • Tank washings (slops)
  • Plastics
  • Food waste
  • Certain types of domestic waste (e.g. paper/cardboard, cans, glass)
  • Cooking oil
  • Certain types of operational waste (e.g. wood)

Other types of waste, such as MARPOL Annexes II, III and VI residues, are ‘SGW that are not always generated during the normal operation of a ship’, but are either generated during loading and unloading [Annexes II and III], or because of specific reasons [Annex VI, being: ODS or ozone depleting substances after repair works or scrubber waste in ships equipped with scrubbers], and may therefore be less suitable to use as an indicator.

Specific rules apply to waste water generated during the cleaning of tanks and holds that have contained hazardous chemicals (MARPOL Annex II).

MARPOL Annex IV, in turn, contains a set of regulations on the legal discharge of sewage water into the sea, including regulations on ship equipment and sewage discharge monitoring systems, provision of port sewage reception facilities, and monitoring and certification requirements.

What is considered (non)recycled SGW?

Indicator 6 should rely on the European coding system to distinguish between disposal (non-recycling) and recovery. “Recovery” (R-coded) means recycling, reuse and other operations to obtain secondary raw materials. “Disposal” (D-coded) means all operations not covered by recovery.

Link to a (sample) matching strategic goal

“Reducing litter, floating waste and fly-tipping in the port area. Reducing volume of packaging waste in ship supplies” – Port of Antwerp – OVAM Agreement (2021-2023)

How data are collected and managed

According to VLAREMA, Flemish PAs have an obligation to provide adequate PRFs. They usually do so through private waste collectors, and let the free market play under certain conditions. Private waste collectors transport SGW – whether or not via interim storage on their own premises – to a licensed sorting and processing facility in or near the port area.

Data collection and reporting on SGW is regulated at the European level. At each waste delivery, the collector must issue a waste receipt to the ship’s captain. At the same time the details of the SGW delivery must be registered immediately in a specific European database [SafeSeaNet (Vessel traffic monitoring in EU waters)]. In the Flemish Region, collectors were also required to report the quantity of collected SGW to the PAs in support of managing the cost recovery system. In this way, data on the total volume of SGW received at PRFs have been available in the Flemish Region since 2007.

Current limitations

In the context of the European PRF Directive or any national or regional legislation, only data on the volume of SGW are reported and not on the processing/treatment of the collected SGW.

Since Indicator 6 relies on the European coding system EURAL (European Waste List or EWL), which is not compatible with the MARPOL classification, there is some confusion on the correct interpretation of (non)recycling of SGW.

Indicator 6 assumes that all recyclable SGW is actually recycled, while this is not always the case (in practice). To facilitate (cost-efficient) reuse and recycling, SGW should be collected separately in ports. In principle, EU-waste regulation apply for this, but as ships follow international rules, PRFs are allowed to receive the SGW fractions according to the MARPOL-classifications.

Since ships are not required by the PRF Directive or MARPOL to sort SGW on board, something the PRF itself cannot mandate either, SGW are not always delivered separately which reduces recyclability.