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EU unveils new e-waste directive

August 13, 2012

Six-year plan attached to directive aims to increase collection of electronic equipment in Member States to an ambitious 85 percent.

The European Union has announced an updated WEEE Directive that will increase the required amount of sold electrical and electronic equipment that is collected by each Member State in a bid to challenge “one of the fastest growing waste streams”.

The new rules, active as of 13 August 2012, will aim to enforce a collection target of 45 percent of electronic and electrical equipment sold that will apply from 2016 onwards. This target will increase to 65 percent by 2019. The number of products that fall under the scope of the Directive is also set to increase as of 2018.

The EU notes that currently only one-third of electrical and electronic waste is separately collected within the documented system, and the current collection target stands at a mere 2 million tonnes per year out of an approximate 10 million tonnes of WEEE generated annually by the EU. The “ambitious” final target of the new Directive “will ensure that in 2020, around 10 million tonnes […] will be separately collected in the EU”.

Environment Commissioner Janez Poto?nik commented: “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.”

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