It ie reported that the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive imposes obligations on producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to take financial responsibility for the environmental impact of EEE placed on the market. Recently, the EU has recast WEEE legislation over concerns recycling is not sufficient. Around one third of EEE is collected and treated, with much of the remainder ending up in landfills or sub-standard treatment sites outside the EU.
The most significant change is new recycling targets. From 2016, the minimum recycling collection rate will be 45% of the average amount of EEE placed on a member state’s market in the preceding three years. From 2019, this target rises to 65%, it is reported.
According to the report, at present, the UK only officially collects about 32%. However, industry is optimistic that the targets can be met as a great deal of WEEE falls outside the system – for example, large items ending up as scrap metal and other products which are re-used through informal second hand sales, such as those on eBay.
Retailers and wholesalers have to continue to collect domestic WEEE free of charge for re-use, disassembly and recycling. However, the take-back requirements have been extended so that distributors with retail shops with 400sqm-plus of sales areas will have to collect small WEEE for free unless alternative existing collecting schemes are available to consumers.