We take pleasure in issuing the first html-version of "Eye on WEEE", the WEEE Forum's publication that brings you up to date on the latest developments in our organisation. The WEEE Forum is a European association of 39 producer responsibility organisations that manage collection, treatment and recovery of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) on behalf of the producers community. Our mission is to provide a platform for exchange of best practices, and, in so doing, optimise the cost-effectiveness of the operations of the member organisations, while striving for continuous improvement in environmental performance. We also seek to be a centre of competence that allows members to make constructive contributions to the general debate on e-waste policy matters.
In this and future editions, we will focus on "WEEELABEX", the four-years project that aims at laying down a set of European harmonised industry standards with respect to collection, treatment, recovery and recycling of e-waste and monitoring the processing companies. Those operators that meet the standards will be awarded a label ("WEEE label of excellence"). The project is co-financed by Life+, the European Commission's financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout Europe.
Another area of interest is obviously the recast of Directive 2002/96/EC on WEEE. In this edition, you will find out what we think should be the basic principles of e-waste policies in Europe and how the future Directive should look like.
We look forward to hearing your views on these and other issues.
In its Proposal for a recast of Directive 2002/96/EC on WEEE, the European Commission says that “[...] member states shall ensure that producers or third parties acting on their behalf achieve a minimum collection rate of 65%” and that “member states shall ensure that producers provide at least for the financing of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE from private households deposited at collection facilities set up under Article 5(2). Member states, where appropriate, shall encourage producers to finance all the costs occurring for collection facilities for WEEE from private households”.
The WEEE Forum has made it clear in the past that a collection target fixed in kilogram per inhabitant, as in the original Directive, is inappropriate. Yet there are reasons to believe that the proposed new target expressed in percentage of sales volumes and imposed on producers will fail to address the problems that have arisen with the implementation of the Directive. A failure to lay down a requirement that producers (or parties that act on their behalf) must have fair access to e-waste, in combination with a suggestion that producers ought to finance all the costs incurred for collection facilities for e-waste from private households, will create new unlevel playing fields, will increase costs for the producers community dramatically and will amplify the extent to which producers can be held captive by those that collect waste. The true objective of the Directive will not be achieved and the identified problems of illegal treatment and shipment will not be resolved. Instead, e-waste traders that control the collection of WEEE will be able to dictate terms upon which producers or their compliance schemes may access such WEEE. Rather than making this behaviour spread all over Europe it should be resolved in the member states where it occurs today.
Find out more about the WEEE Forum’s solution and the set of key principles that must be put in place.
On 28 July 2008, the Life committee, an EU body composed of member states and the European Commission, approved "WEEELABEX", the WEEE Forum's four-years project aimed at laying down a set of European standards with respect to collection, treatment, recovery and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and monitoring the processing companies.
The project runs from January 1st 2009 until December 31st 2012. In 2009, the main focus of the WEEE Forum’s activities is on the design and development of a so-called “umbrella standard”, i.e. a standard for all e-waste operators down the entire chain, from collection to recycling, and for all WEEE categories. Later this year and next, sub-projects will zoom in on particular product categories.
A “WEEELABEX Stakeholders Group” (WSG) was set up to allow all interested parties that have a stake in the issue, to be involved in discussions. The WSG met on January 23rd and February 16th 2009.
It is too early to provide the first concrete results of the project. Please have a look at the FAQ if you want to learn more about the project's scope, its objectives and underlying principles, and a timetable.