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MEPs back WEEE reuse target

MEPs have supported the European Council’s 5% reuse waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) target but remain opposed to the council’s preferred recycling target.

The environment committee was almost unanimous on amendments at the second reading of the revised WEEE Directive - 52 MEPs in favour, one against and five abstaining.

An obstacle for progress of the directive is that the committee continues to support a target of 85% of electrical waste generated in each member state to be recycled by 2016. This is against the European Council’s desire for a 65% target based on goods going on sale to be phased in by most member states by 2020 with the remainder by 2022.

A proposed separate 5% reuse target within the recycling target was upheld by the committee.

Furniture Reuse Network chief executive Craig Anderson welcomed the support: “We are extremely pleased to see that that MEPs have voted to back the WEEE Directive recast amendments that supports the establishment of a reuse target of 5% across the WEEE categories. We hope to see this decision get through the next stages negotiations in January to herald the introduction of the long awaited reuse target.”  

In addition, to help increase recycling rates, MEPs also agreed that consumers should be allowed to hand in very small appliances to all but the smallest electrical goods shops for free.

British Retail Consortium Bob Gordon said shops were not the right place to collect WEEE.

“The definition of electrical goods shops will cover any shop that sells any type of electricals. So a retailer, which may only sell a few watches or phone chargers, will have to collect all sorts of items they do not even sell. The problem is ‘very small appliances’ are not defined, retailers do not have enough space to collect WEEE and there is no proof this infrastructure would increase WEEE recycling.

“It’s not appropriate to mandate this on all stores.”

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