MEPs in favour of tougher electroscrap legislation

European Parliament’s environment committee adopts in first reading two reports on electrical and electronic waste

The environment committee decided to stick to the different legal bases for the two directives. The committee accepted therapporteur’sproposal to introduce financial responsibility for producers from 30 months instead of five years after the directive enters into force. For “historical waste” (produced before the date the directive comes into force), treatment should be financed collectively by manufacturers according to market share. For new waste, there should be individual financial responsibility.

 

On the ROS directive, the committee wants a phase out of the toxic substances by 1 January 2006 instead of 2008.

 

The European Parliament's environment committee adopted in a first reading two reports on electrical and electronic waste on Tuesday 24 April. There had been heavy lobbying around these two proposals which would impose stricter rules for so-called electroscrap on electrogoods manufacturers.

 

The draft directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and its companion draft directive restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical equipment (ROS) were adopted by the Commission on 13 June 2000. Although belonging together, the two directives have different legal bases (seeEURACTIV 14 June 2000).

The WEEE directive (seen as an environmental measure and based on article 175 of the Treaty) aims to increase the collection and recycling of electroscrap through producer responsibility. Manufacturers of these products (computers to refrigerators) would be liable to pay for the takeback, reuse or recycling of between 50 and 80% of the waste, depending on the type of product.

The ROS directive (seen as a single market law, based on article 95 - therefore restricting Member States rights to move ahead quicker) would impose a ban on the use of toxic substances like lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and flame retardants PBB and PBDE in new electroproducts by 2008.

 

The two draft directives will now go to the parliament's plenary session in May. The parliament will need a second reading after a common position has been agreed by the Council.

 

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