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Calls for action on WEEE in metal scrap

Calls for action on WEEE in metal scrap

October 6, 2020

The WEEE Forum has published a paper outlining the issues associated with the treatment of WEEE as metal scrap and has called on the competent authorities to take appropriate action.

The WEEE Forum explained that the practice of collecting or purchasing WEEE and handling it together with metal scrap is, unfortunately, a common practice in Europe and globally. This situation gives rise to environmental, health and safety issues because hazardous substances may likely not have been adequately removed or extracted. It also gives rise to compliance issues because WEEE collected and treated as metal scrap escapes the official routes that count towards reaching the collection targets set in WEEE legislation. According to the WEEE Forum attaining these targets has become very hard.

The WEEE Forum added that the attainment of the collection targets requires a redirection of WEEE tonnages into the officially reported flows. Competent authorities must prohibit the practice of purchasing and processing metal scrap that contains WEEE, unless they are treated and processed by facilities that are officially permitted or certified to do so. The WEEE Forum is calling for the authorities to develop targeted, systematic enforcement actions to identify facilities that treat WEEE as scrap and penalise them. A lot of the issues result from failure of the operator permitting system; policies which mandate the scrap sector in the reporting of WEEE are called for.

Lucia Herreras, Deputy Director General of the WEEE Forum and one of the authors of the report said: “Due to low levels of enforcement activity, and PROs not having access to scrap facilities for data collection, reliable information on the WEEE tonnages affected by these practices is scarce. Finding an appropriate, harmonized methodology to collect data about how much WEEE disappears in the metal scrap stream is crucial to understand what is going on in the e-waste market.”

Member States can use substantiated estimates, as referred to in Article 16 of the Directive, provided WEEE not properly treated stays out of the equation, otherwise it creates an unlevel playing field for the other Member States in achieving the collection targets in Europe.

The WEEE Forum said, the issues associated with WEEE in metal scrap will be discussed with representatives of the United Nations, author of a WEEE Flows report, the European Commission and the stakeholders community at a WEEE Forum event on 24 November 2020, in Brussels and online.

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags : Metal Scrap The WEEE Forum WEEE

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