Tougher WEEE targets on horizon for EU

5th October 2011


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The European Parliament's Environment Committee has voted overwhelmingly in favour of increasing recovery and recycling targets for electronic waste.

At a meeting yesterday, the MEPs accepted a report proposing changes to the Waste and Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive that would require member states to collect 85% of WEEE by 2016, a 20% increase on the current target.

The committee agreed with proposals to phase out the existing target, which is based on the number of goods on sale, and replace it with a target of recovering 70-85% of e-waste generated in each member state. The proposals also require that 50-75% of that waste is recycled and that 5% should be reused.

“Collecting and recycling e-waste is good for the environment and good for the economy,” said German MEP and author of the proposals Karl-Heinz Florenz.

“Parliament's ambitious but achievable targets will help recover valuable raw materials and cut the flow of e-waste to landfills, incinerators and developing countries.”

Other proposed changes include a shift in the burden of proof for those organisations exporting WEEE. In a bid to tackle the illegal exportation of electronic waste to countries outside the EU, exporters would have to prove that their shipments contain only reusable goods.

The committee also argued that member states must do more to stop consumers throwing away small electronic goods, such as mobile phones, saying that changes must be made to ensure they can return the majority of such goods to retailers without being charged.

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