New Weee Targets

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A full plenary session of the Parliament in Brussels voted 580 to 37 in favour of the proposals, which were made in a report prepared by MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz, the man responsible for steering the recast of the EU WEEE Directive by means of the European legislative procedure. There were 22 abstentions.

Mr Florenz’s report, and the amendments to it which were tabled inside the period because it was 1st considered by the Parliament’s environment committee in draft form in February 2010, feature a range of proposals, many significantly distinct to those inside the European Commission’s original recast proposals.

Among the key adjustments backed by the Parliament are to move from the present weight-based target for WEEE collection, that the UK has effortlessly met, to a percentage-based goal, with member states expected to collect 85% of all WEEE generated by 2016.

This represents a considerable change from the 65% target originally proposed by the Commission, which was to be calculated as a proportion of the amount of new electrical equipment put onto the marketplace.

Although this 65% target is seen as difficult for the UK, some in the sector have questioned just how taxing the Parliament’s proposed target will probably be, noting it'll be dependent on precisely what the final recast document defines as WEEE .

Collection from households

The vote also saw the Parliament back moves to make producers, retailers and customers responsible for funding the collection of WEEE from households, a substantial change from the present system, whereby producers only pay for the collection, treatment and recycling of WEEE from collection points.

Parliament has sent a strong message that public authorities, manufacturers and customers all require to play their component to make sure we collect and recycle a lot more of our electrical and electronic goods

Karl-Heinz Florenz MEP

The change, which was made in amendment 47 of Mr Florenz’s report, is likely to be welcomed by the Local Government Association, which believes it is essential to boost traditionally low collection level for little household WEEE.

The report notes that the actual rules for calculating the cost of collection will likely be laid down by individual member states.

But, it's likely to be draw opposition by producers and retailers, who could see their costs increase, and consumers, who could see the price of collection passed on to them.


Other changes endorsed today include:

Requiring between 50% and 75%, depending on the type of material, of WEEE collected to truly be recycled;Introducing a new 5% reuse target;Reducing the number of WEEE categoriesStandardising registration and reporting for producers, a move the Parliament claimed would reduce their administrative burden and costs;Allowing customers to return “very small” WEEE directly to retailers.Mr Florenz said: “We can no longer afford to waste our waste. Parliament has sent a strong message that public authorities, manufacturers and customers all need to play their part to make sure we collect and recycle much more of our electrical and electronic goods. We have also set out stricter rules to stop potentially harmful waste being illegally shipped to developing countries.”

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