Europe to tighten rules on e-waste

The EU wants tighter rules on waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) while keeping red tape to a minimum for companies.

MEPs proposed new targets yesterday (February 3) for collecting, recycling and re-using waste. They also recommended tougher measures to prevent the export of e-waste to developing countries, where it can pose a health and environment hazard.

Karl-Heinz Florenz (EPP, DE), steered the draft legislation through Parliament. He said: “We can no longer afford to waste our waste.

“Parliament has sent a strong message that public authorities, manufacturers and consumers all need to play their part to ensure we collect and recycle more of our electrical and electronic goods.

“We have also set out stricter rules to stop potentially harmful waste being illegally shipped to developing countries.”

The EU is proposing targets for member states to collect 85% of the e-waste they produce from 2016 and 4 kg of e-waste per inhabitant (as under existing rules) or the weight of e-waste collected in 2010, whichever is greater.

MEPs recommended a 50-75% recycling target and a new 5% re-use goal in order to take advantage of reclaiming valuable raw materials.

To lighten the administrative burden and costs on companies MEPs are suggesting a reduction in the number of electrical equipment categories.

Producers of e-goods should pay towards treatment and use eco-design rules to create products that are easier to repair or recycle.

To tackle the illegal export of e-waste, MEPs say stricter inspections of shipments are needed and the exporter should carry the burden of proof that goods are reusable.

Alison Brown

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