In-depth review of the WEEE Collection Rates and Targets in Europe

After nearly two decades since the creation of EU legislation on WEEE and the concerted effort of producer responsibility organisations (PRO), producers and many other actors, and despite the continuous growth of the tonnages of WEEE that are collected, most Member States have not reached the WEEE collection targets. 

UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, highlights in its latest study (to be released on 23rd November 2020) the factors that impede formal/official collection and concludes that, in order to achieve the minimum collection rate, Member States have to divert a high proportion of WEEE that is currently disposed of in the general waste bin, reduce most of the WEEE that is mixed with metal scrap, reduce illegal exports of WEEE and start to monitor used EEE exports to distinguish illegal WEEE from legitimate used EEE exports and report professional WEEE. 

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There is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the EU should design a new WEEE policy approach to counter parallel, unreported, sub-standard and illegal WEEE flows and to increase reported collection and responsible recycling of WEEE. The new policy approach, as outlined in this paper, will result in higher tonnages of reported collection and responsible recycling of WEEE. The fundamentals of the new policy approach consist of:

  • The All Actors Approach.
  • The revision of the EPR principle and the allocation of collection responsibility using the WEEE available for collection concept.
  • Adoption of a range of supporting measures to properly report and recycle WEEE.
  • A revision of the collection target calculation methods.

 

Furthermore, the WEEE Forum and its partners propose ten supporting measures to support the implementation of the All Actors Approach, which can be tailored and implemented in the way best suited to the Member States. 

Whenever possible, incentives are set in place for encouraging participation of actors, but it should be noted that for an All Actors Approach to work properly a high level of enforcement is required.

The WEEE Forum will host an event on 24 November 2020 where the UNITAR report will be presented. The European Commission will deliver the keynote presentation, and a panel composed of key actors on the WEEE market will discuss the WEEE Forum’s vision and proposed measures. More details to follow.