A greater effort for E-waste recycling needed

 

Electrical and electronic waste is a major global environmental problem given our society’s growing dependence on such goods and the high turnover rate as new products come to market. Although it is difficult to quantify e-waste, we do know that large amounts are ending up in places where processing occurs at a very unprofessional level.

 This raises concerns about resource efficiency and also the concerns of the dangers to humans and the environment. ALDE insists on high standards for collection, recycling, treatment and re-use of electronic waste (mobiles, computers, TVs). The European Parliament will vote on the second reading agreement of the Regulation which defines the new rules and principles on the revision of the WEEE Directive (Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment), aiming at toughening existing rules on the sector.

MEP Vladko Panayotov (MRF, BG), ALDE Group shadow rapporteur, said:
With the new provisions of the WEEE Directive we are paving the way for more and better recycling of electrical and electronic waste in the EU. As liberals, we fought for cracking down on the illegal shipment of waste and including all waste streams in the scope. Now this is a reality. We have ensured that these precious resources will be recycled accordingly in a more environmentally responsible way thus helping to achieve higher levels of resource efficiency“.

The Regulation underlines a number of important considerations:
• open scope (all types of electronic equipment will be covered) will apply after six years,
• collection targets (Member States will have to ensure that 65% of all e-waste is collected and treated properly – this is considerably more than under current requirements),
• these new collection targets will apply fully after seven years from entry into force of the Directive (the European Parliament had insisted on a much quicker implementation which was blocked by Member States),
• Member States shall promote the separation of e-waste for re-use,
• treatment and recyclability schemes (oblige shops selling electronic equipment on a surface bigger than 400 m2 to take back any small e-waste free of charge including small IT and PCs, laptops, mobiles),
• producer definition and registration (European producers will still be registered in each Member State where they are active but the administrative burden is reduced in order to cut costs),
• shipment of non-functional electronic equipment (tightening control).

Notes: Each EU citizen generates on average between 17 and 20 kg of electric and electronic waste each year. Currently, only a third of this waste is reported to be treated according to existing EU legislation. The rest is either reported to go directly to landfills or is lost to potentially sub-standard treatment inside or outside the EU (54%).