The final text of the revised Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive that was passed by large majority of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is an outcome of negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission.
The revamped legislation will set obligations:
- On retailers to establish collection points for discarded smaller electronic and electrical items, such as mobile phones
- On manufacturers to recycle larger items, such as refrigerators and freezers.
"After difficult negotiations I am very satisfied that we have agreed ambitious but achievable collection rates with the Council. Europe will now recover more raw materials, which is excellent news both for the economy and for the environment", said the MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz who was responsible for negotiating the Parliament’s position with the Council.
Separate collection of f-gas equipment
According to the new rules, Member States should adopt appropriate measures to ensure that freezing and cooling equipment containing ozone-depleting substances and fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases) is collected separately and not in the form of unsorted municipal waste, given their high environmental impact.
85% collection rate – ultimate goal
As of 2016, the legislation imposes a minimum collection rate of 45% of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) put on sale in the market in the three preceding years. By 2019, this rate will gradually increase to 65% or alternatively 85% of all e-waste generated on the territory will have to be collected. At the same time the current flat recycling target of 4 kilograms of e-waste per person should continue to apply.
The new measures will apply to the following temperature exchange equipment:
- Equipment which automatically delivers cold products
- Air conditioning equipment
- Dehumidifying equipment
- Heat pumps
- Radiators containing oil
- Other temperature exchange equipment using other fluids than water for the temperature exchange
New rules part of national law as of 2014
As the agreement on the legislation has been reached in cooperation with the Council, the new rules will be soon formally approved by 27 EU countries. Afterwards, they will have 18 months to update their national legislation accordingly. Ten of the new Member States will have two extra years to meet the new targets due to the lack of the necessary infrastructure and low consumption of electronic and electric equipment in these countries. This means that the target to collect 85% of e-waste will only apply in these countries in 2021.