NEWS

New rules on e-waste to boost resource efficiency

Improved rules on the collection and treatment of e-waste enter into force today. E-waste (i.e. waste electrical and electronic equipment, or WEEE) is one the fastest growing waste streams, and it offers substantial opportunities in terms of making secondary raw materials available on the market. Systematic collection and proper treatment is a precondition for recycling materials like gold, silver, copper and rare metals in used TVs, laptops and mobile phones. The new Directive is a clear step forward in terms of environmental protection and a major boost to resource efficiency in Europe.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “In these times of economic turmoil and rising prices for raw materials, resource efficiency is where environmental benefits and innovative growth opportunities come together. We now need to open new collection channels for electronic waste and improve the effectiveness of existing ones. I encourage the Member States to meet these new targets before the formal deadline.”

The Directive entering into force today introduces a collection target of 45 % of electronic equipment sold that will apply from 2016 and, as a second step from 2019, a target of 65 % of equipment sold, or 85 % of electronic waste generated. Member States will be able to choose which one of these two equivalent ways to measure the target they wish to report. From 2018, the Directive will be extended from its current restricted scope to all categories of electronic waste, subject to an impact assessment beforehand.

The full press release from the European Commission, published on 13 August can be found on their website.