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EEE producers no longer required to fund WEEE collections from kerbside

Producers of electrical and electronic equipment will no longer have to fund waste electrical and electronic equipment collections from kerbside under new amendments to the recast WEEE Directive.

The long-awaited draft report from the European Parliaments Rapporteur Karl-Heinz Florenz outlines a number of proposed changes for the WEEE industry including a 65% WEEE collection target for all Member States by 2016. The new target is set at 65% of the average weight of products placed on the market in the three preceding years. (see MRW story)

In the European Commissions original proposal on the recast WEEE Directive (September 2009) it stated that member states should encourage producers to take full ownership of the WEEE collection in particular by financing the collection of WEEE throughout the whole waste chain including from private households.

This statement has changed significantly in the current draft report which now states: All member states should encourage all stakeholders handling WEEE to help achieve the aim of the Directive in order to avoid leakage of separately collected WEEE to sub-optimal treatment and illegal exports.

The proposals continue to state member states should encourage producers to treat all WEEE collected and consumers should have responsibility for ensuring that WEEE is taken to collection facilities.

This means that the new target is set at 65% of the average weight of products placed on the market in the three preceding years in that member state.

Speaking about the draft WEEE proposals, logistics firm Wincanton commercial manager Simon Hill said that kerbside should not be ruled out as a method of helping to achieve our collection targets. It still needs to be considered where financially viable.

WEEE producer compliance scheme Econo-WEEE director John Kerr added: It will be welcomed by producers but not local authorities who will have to fund it themselves. 

The draft proposals also highlight interim targets from 2013 until the end of 2015.
Hill said: We are supportive of the 65% challenging targets and the interim target which will help countries to achieve that progression to 65%.

Other proposals in the draft recast WEEE Directive include the separate collection of mercury-containing lamps.

WEEE producer compliance scheme Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said: We have been active in lobbying both at UK and European level through our Brussels body lobbyist to try to get the recast right for our industry. We welcome the number of changes proposed. This includes the statement that it is important to separate collection for lamps, which we have been doing at Recolight already.

He said that the lamp market was a fast growing industry market and sales of lamps had increased over the past two or three years. However, he added that it may be difficult to reach a 65% target because the sales of lamps six years ago have been smaller than the sales that have occurred this year.

The proposals have also taken out the requirement for a gas discharged lamp re-use target stating that they cannot be re-used.

Other proposals include the development of a harmonised standards for the collection, treatment and recycling of WEEE because the Rapporteur states that recycling standards have still not been developed. He states that different standards result in distortions of competition, which is why a level playing field needs to be created.

MRW understands that the next stage involves a vote on the amendments by the EC on April 7. Hill said that there may be a significant way to go before the proposals are transposed into EU legislation.

Other proposals from the draft recast WEEE report include:
* Producers should be allowed to show purchasers, on a voluntary basis at the time of sale of new products, the costs of collecting, treating and disposing of WEEE;
* The scope of RoHs and WEEE should be separate and differ in their scope; and
* Member states need to stem the leakage of WEEE that is being shipped illegally to countries outside the EU by carrying out more checks at ports and border crossings; and
* Photovoltaic modules used for solar panels should be excluded from the WEEE Directive.



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