The European Parliament recently released its report on the recast of the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive. In his report, the Rapporteur, Karl-Heinz Florenz, addresses a number of concerns raised by producers and other key stakeholders.
Dr Philip Morton, chief executive of producer compliance scheme, Repic, says: "We are extremely pleased that the Rapporteur has taken into consideration input from stakeholder groups, and the report deals with a number of issues which will help to make the recycling of WEEE both more efficient and more secure. If the key proposals are adopted it will give the UK Government the scope to improve the current UK system.
"For Repic, the key outcomes of the recast are those revisions to the directive which clarify producer responsibility and give consumers positive involvement in ensuring that end-of-life Electronic or Electrical equipment (EEE) is taken to collection facilities, thereby engaging the public and improving collection rates.
"Counting WEEE from all stakeholders, rather than just the WEEE handed to producer schemes, should plug more gaps and impede the illegal export of WEEE. Properly implemented, this will help the environment, reduce the cost burden, and raise the amount of reported WEEE. The increased focus on procedures to protect the environment during this process, by harmonising standards for the collection, treatment and recycling of WEEE, is a significant move towards a level playing field in all member states.
"The proposal to tighten export requirements is sensible too, as it will encourage more direct relationships between those collecting WEEE and the funding producer compliance schemes (PCS), thereby reducing the audit trail and enhancing the security of the recycling process. A short chain from collection to treatment and a direct relationship with the funding PCS makes it easier to know where WEEE comes from, where it goes to and who pays for it.
"Finally, it is particularly encouraging to see that the Rapporteur has introduced an interim collection target rate for member states of 45 per cent, as this provides the UK government with a stepping stone to make effective changes and improvements to the system."