MEPs opt for collective producer responsibility for orphan electroscrap

On 21 March, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee went against industry’s demands and voted for collective responsibility of orphan waste in the WEEE directive.

The Environment Committee followed the Council’s recommendations from its first reading and voted for collected responsibility of orphan electronic waste. The rapporteur, Mr Florenz (EPP-ED Germany), had suggested individual responsibility, because of the high risk of ‘free-riders’ within a collective scheme.

The Committee agreed with the rapporteur on individual financial responsibility for all other, non-orphan, electronic waste. This will be an issue of disagreement with the Council, which has proposed the right for Member States to choose collective responsibility schemes if they wish.

The Committee also backed the rapporteur’s demand for raising the collection rate target from 5 to 6 kilograms per capita, and to raise recycling targets. It also turned down a suggestion to exclude small companies from the directive.

With respect to the ROHS directive, the Committee agreed bring forward the date for banning certain substances to 1 January 2006. However, Member States can phase out the substances earlier if they wish.

 

BothindustryandNGOshave stated their preference for individual responsibility for all WEEE. The industry argues that a system based on individual responsibility would level the playing field and prevent less serious producers to dump products on the market. A collective system could lead to more orphan waste, which the whole industry would have to pay for. (see also EURACTIV15 February 2002)

 

The proposal for a directive on the waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and its companion draft directive restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical equipment (ROHS) were adopted by the Commission on 13 June 2000. One of the main elements of the WEEE directive is the intention to increase producers' responsibility to collect and recycle electronic scrap.

 

The WEEE and the ROHS directives are scheduled for the Parliament's plenary session in April.

 

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