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Boost WEEE export policing or face a weakened directive, says Sims

Close the loopholes exploited by illegal exporters of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) or reap a weakened directive says Sims Recycling. Chief executive Graham Davy warned that failing to properly police the growing problem of illegal exporters of WEEE across the EU will damage the environment and creditability of the directive. He also said: [Illegal export] means that waste material, which is often hazardous, is being dumped in less developed countries, with African nations a favourite destination among cowboy operators. As businesses in the UK strive to be compliant, Sims Recycling says cowboy operators are exploiting regulations by shipping WEEE to countries with weaker legislative controls. While untreated WEEE can be shipped between EU countries, it is illegal to take it outside the EU without treating it first. Some exporters are getting around this by labelling untreated material as equipment for reuse, as equipment that works is legal to ship. Sims Recycling claims that many nations across Europe are putting minimal resources into policing the cross-border implementation of the rules, despite having had the directive in place for some time. It also said that communication between countries is limited. Davy said: Its a faceless crime and we dont know the exact figures as the practice is being undertaken by a small number of traders who are hard to trace. With the UK finally adopting the directive, it means that millions of tonnes of WEEE will be in circulation, adding to the European pile of waste.As many companies are still feeling their way regarding their obligations, this offers a big window of opportunity for those people looking to cash in by operating outside the guidelines.

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