The UK faces a steep increase in the mandatory recycling rates for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) following the European Union adopting the WEEE Recast.
Member states, including the UK, now have 18 months to transpose the Recast of the WEEE directive into domestic law after policy makers published the fresh legislation in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 July.
Under the Recast, member states will have to increase the existing 4 kgs of WEEE recycled per person per year to 20kgs per person by 2020.
The Recast says:
- From now until 1 January four years after the year of entry into force (1 January 2016), the collection target will be either minimum 4kg per person or the average kg per capita collected over the prior three years, whichever is larger. For the UK that might mean a target of 7kgs or more, depending on how this is interpreted
- Four years after the year of entry into force (January 2016 onwards) this will change to a collection rate of 45% by weight, based on the average weight of EEE placed on the market in that Member Sate the prior three years
- Looking ahead from four years (Jan 2016) to seven years (January 2019), the target gradually increases until it reaches the final target of either 65% based on EEE put on the market or 85% of WEEE generated, whichever is chosen.
Writing for MRW last week Alan Whitehead, Labour MP for Southampton Test and co-chair of the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, said: “As the WEEE Recast is passed into law, it will be a huge driver for WEEE collection and reprocessing in terms of volume.
“It will be vital, however, that this quantity of material is coupled with a quality-based approach when it comes to how it is handled after collection.
“It has been estimated that a quarter of all WEEE taken to landfill has a reuse value and that value is often extinguished simply by the handling process.