On 11 October, the Conciliation Committee between the Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the electronic waste directive (WEEE). The compromise accepted the parliament’s demand for individual producer responsibility.
Under the compromise agreed between the Council and the Parliament, producers will be held individually responsible for the waste arising from their new products. Other points of the compromise:
- Member States need to set up collection systems for waste of electrical and electronic equipment, take measures so that WEEE is collected separately and achieve a binding target of 4 kg per capita/per year by the end of 2006 (Parliament wanted 6 kg);
- producers must provide financial guarantees for future disposal, to avoid irresponsible “free-rider” behaviour;
- producers will have the choice of either managing the waste on an individual basis or participating in collective schemes;
- historical waste (put on the market before the directive comes into force) will be treated through collective financing; producers can get back the costs through a “visible fee” sales tax on new products for eight years (ten years for larger products);
- four heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium) and the brominated flame retardants PBB and PBDE will be banned from 1 July 2006. Existing national measures on these substances can continue to apply until that date.