Electronic waste is the fastest growing type of global waste. According to the UN Environmental Programme, the global e-waste steam will soon reach 50 million metric tonnes annually. Responsible waste management, particularly around e-waste, has become a key target of regulation and stakeholder interest.
The EU WEEE Directive aims to prevent or reduce the negative environmental effects resulting from the generation and management of WEEE and from resource use. The Directive requires manufacturers EEE to take responsibility for organising and financing the correct treatment of discarded end of life equipment. It also sets collection and recycling/recovery targets.
CECED supports that all WEEE is properly recovered in accordance with the requirements set out in the EU Directive. Collection levels of WEEE have increased steadily. The overall levels of recycling and recovery have also been increasing. Infrastructure has continued to improve in the more countries with more mature WEEE systems and new infrastructure has been created in countries where no WEEE management has happened before.
Since the WEEE Directive came into force, the household appliance industry has made considerable investments in the infrastructure for WEEE Management. Many takeback schemes across Europe have been set up to undertake the operational aspects of producer responsibility. Quality of recycling has been further enhanced in recent years by the development of WEEE handling and treatment standards at EU level through the EU standardisation process.
However, only producers, or third parties acting on behalf of producers, have been obliged to fulfil the WEEE requirements. As shown in the diagram below, it has been estimated that 2/3 of WEEE escapes official treatment channels and is handled by operators different than producers. Those operators, not under the obligation of the WEEE Directive, are not required to treat WEEE in accordance with treatment requirements. In this respect, the biggest potential for increasing and improving recycling is by ensuring all and any WEEE is covered by the same reporting, treatment and recovery requirements.
CECED is in favour of :
The WEEE Directive is implemented in each of the EU Member States through national legislation. Norway, Switzerland and Turkey have also implemented similar pieces of legislation. Market conditions and national culture vary so significantly from one Member State to another that it is not possible to identify one ideal model for WEEE management. Member States are allowed to put in place stricter national measures to achieve the aims, if they so wish. It is, therefore, in the framework of the national law of each country that the responsibilities and obligations of manufacturers, authorities, distributors and all other actors are addressed. As a consequence producers have to assess the national laws to understand compliance issues.
The WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU repealing Directive 2002/96/EC WEEE, came into force in August 2012. Member states had until 14 February 2014 to implement the changes in new national implementing legislation.