Manufacturers find strength in numbers

'The early bird catches the worm' the saying goes, explaining why four manufacturers are ensuring cost-efficient implementation of the WEEE Directive by planning ahead. A pan-European compliance scheme for the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment should realise significant savings for the European Recycling Platform (ERP). The companies involved, Braun, Electrolux, HP and Sony, are now evaluating the best approach to the scheme and will present operational proposals during spring 2004.

By pooling waste volumes and procuring recycling services on a European level the ERP hopes to reduce its annual recycling costs – estimates suggest by millions of euros. Savings will eventually be reinvested in designing-out waste, which will benefit the consumer and the environment.

To assess the feasibility of the project a team of experts has been in contact with European recycling firms, as well as undertaking market surveys and benchmarking of the recycling schemes already in existence throughout the EU. More lucrative deals can be negotiated the greater the tonnage of waste involved. Therefore, the ERP is pleased to discuss the participation of other electrical and electronic goods manufactureres, providing it does not contravene the Competition Law.

Each organisation is represented on the ERP steering committee, which meets at regular intervals to dicuss objectives. In addition, senior management converges to mark milestone agreements. The ERP’s main concerns are:

  • to implement the principle of individual producer responsibility, established by the WEEE Directive,
  • to establish National Registers that record companies placing products on the EU market and their levels of responsibility,
  • to develop guidelines on financing for future waste,
  • the creation of a common logistics interface to ensure that competitive take-back schemes can operate.

    Companies interested in joining the ERP should contact

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