The European Recycling Platform (ERP) has called for improved compliance and more consistent legal enforcement of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive in order to meet Europe’s electronic waste challenges.
In its recent position paper on the EU’s circular economy strategy, ERP has attributed poor performance in the recycling sector to a lack of compliance and enforcement.
As the first pan-European organisation to implement the EU’s regulations on the recycling of electrical waste, ERP says governments need to ensure fair competition and prevent free-riding in order to increase benefits for consumers and improve environmental protection.
Umberto Raiteri, ERP – “We want to improve the current situation in Europe and make sure that we capture all the available economic and environmental benefits from electronic waste”
ERP says a new study funded by the EU, Countering WEEE Illegal Trade (CWIT), confirms the damage that is being caused and also urges the European Commission and national authorities to fight the illegal trade of WEEE.
Umberto Raiteri, ERP President and CEO, said: “At ERP, we have been investing heavily in measures to properly manage e-waste and waste portable batteries since 2002. We have continuously and actively raised awareness among consumers, and promoted the importance of recycling across Europe.
“As experts in collecting and recycling electronic waste, we are happy to share our know-how and assist European governments to address this issue as soon as possible. As the only group of compliance schemes directly present in 17 European countries – and with a further presence in 15 more countries through our multi-national partnerships – ERP can play a key role in enforcing this legislation and improving international cooperation.”
The CWIT report recommends educating and raising awareness among consumers to increase collections and prevent leakage.
Recent data confirms that only one third (35%, 3.3m tons) of all WEEE in 2012 was recycled under compliant conditions in Europe.
ERP says the total economic loss, equivalent to the value of the resources and materials lost from the legal compliance system, amounts to €1.7bn. In addition, illegal and sub-standard WEEE handling leads to health issues and severe environmental pollution, eg, heavy metals being released into the soil.
It says the implementation of mandatory treatment of electronic waste according to EU-wide approved standards is the most important action to tackle the problem. However, this can only be guaranteed by authorised compliance schemes with experience in different countries and regions.
Umberto Raiteri added: “At ERP, we continue to work on improving standards, eg the WEEELABEX certification that sets out a coherent, pan-European and comprehensive set of technical requirements for WEEE operations. We want to improve the current situation in Europe and make sure that we capture all the available economic and environmental benefits from electronic waste.”
For its full position paper CLICK HERE