What is the WEEE Directive?
Production of electrical and electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing domains of manufacturing in the western world, and with broad consumer take up of products in this arena, there is also a mounting issue of waste.
- By 1998, six million tonnes of WEEE were generated in Europe, a volume that is expected to increase by 3-5% per annum.
- Moreover, as some of this electrical and electronic equipment may include hazardous materials (e.g. lead, cadmium) it risks causing environmental problems if the waste is not handled effectively.
In June 2000, the European Commission put forward proposals to address this issue, and in December 2002 these were passed as the EU Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Directive.
The major provisions of the WEEE Directive are:
To make manufacturers (or anyone else putting a product on the market in the EU) liable to pay for take-back, treatment and recycling of end-of-life equipment.
To improve re-use/recycling of WEEE.
To ensure the separate collection of WEEE.
To inform the public about their role in dealing with WEEE.
All the EU member states have transposed the legislation into national law.
ERP Lobbies EU for an Improved WEEE Directive
After the European Commission appointed consultants to examine the success of the WEEE Directive, the Commission published draft amendments for the WEEE Directive which ERP feels do not go far enough. Although the aim of reducing the amount of WEEE being sent to landfill is increasingly being fulfilled, there are still many other parts of WEEE management that have either not been addressed or achieved.
Not all WEEE streams are being properly managed; bad treatment and illegal exports are still being carried out and there is still a very large amount of WEEE, although collected, that is not reported or accounted for and probably not treated in an environmentally sound manner.
In 2009, based on its 4 years experience in 11 countries and collecting more than 700,000 tonnes of electrical waste, ERP carried out a WEEE landscape assessment through which it has learnt that a significant amount of WEEE is still exported outside the EU. This study aims to help Member States and the EU Commission gain a complete picture of the reality of the WEEE market.
Click here to read ERP’s ‘A Better WEEE Directive to support a Sustainable European Resource Management’
The Electrolux Group is the world's largest producer of powered appliances for kitchen. More information is available at http://www.electrolux.com.
Sony manufactures audio, video, communications and information technology products for the global consumer and professional markets. More information is available at http://www.sony-europe.com.
HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and services to consumers and businesses. More information is available at http://www.hp.com
Procter & Gambleis composed of 3 different business units: beauty and grooming, household care and health and well being. Among its brands, stand out Duracell for batteries and Braun for household appliances.
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