Major steps needed to tackle WEEE generation in Europe

28 April, Tokyo – A recent report from the United Nations University has shown that European countries are amongst the largest producers of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in the world, with Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and the United Kingdom at the top of the table.

The report estimates that 41.8 million tonnes of WEEE were created worldwide in 2014, compared to 33.8 million tonnes in 2010, as a result of shorter life-cycles for products and rising sales. It also estimates that, globally, €48 billion of gold, silver, steel, iron, copper, aluminium and other valuable materials entered the waste stream in 2014 from WEEE disposal.

Despite EU regulation, WEEE in Europe which is still not captured or treated appropriately. The Commission is assessing the possibility of introducing a target for preparing WEEE for re-use, with a possibility to introduce it in a recast of the WEEE Directive by 2019. Its introduction would likely be a part of the new Circular Economy package, to be proposed by the Commission by the end of this year.

However, there is currently substantial disagreement amongst Member States on definitions of ‘re-use’ and ‘preparation for re-use’. Within the EU, only Spain and Flanders currently have re-use targets.

Click to access, ‘The Global E-Waste Monitor 2014 – Quantities, Flows and Resources’. 

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