Electronic equipment manufacturers fear that a proposed review of an EU directive on recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment will result in producers having to pay for household collection.
The European Commission tabled proposals to recast the WEEE and RoHS directives on 3 December.
According to the EU executive, the review aims to tackle the technical, legal and administrative difficulties related to the current directives and cut down related unintended costs and burden on market actors and administrations.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas also referred to the review as “an opportunity for EU companies to innovate and have access to valuable raw materials” as the bloc seeks to become a resource-efficient economy and encourage sustainable consumption and production.
Changes proposed for the two directives include:
- Change in the collection target from the current 4kg/capita per year (‘one size fits all’) to a variable binding target that takes into account the economies of individual member states (65% of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market over the two previous years);
- including the re-use of whole appliances in the recycling and re-use target in order to encourage re-use;
- increasing the re-use and recycling target by 5%;
- listing priority substances posing particular environmental concerns when used in electrical and electronic equipment, to be assessed in line with the EU’s REACH regulation on chemicals with a view to a possible ban in the future;
- harmonised EU-level registration and reporting obligations for producers;
- minimum inspection requirements for member states to strengthen the enforcement of the directive and monitor requirements for shipping WEEE.
The EU executive is also asking member states to encourage producers to finance the costs of separate collection from private households and shift the costs of WEEE collection from taxpayers to consumers of electrical and electronic equipment (through producers) to bring financing in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle set out in the EU Treaties.