A Europe-wide compliance scheme that includes the UK has handled more than three million tonnes of WEEE across Europe since its creation in 2002.
European Recycling Platform (ERP), which operates 35 compliance schemes in 15 countries, says the figure matches the annual amount of WEEE generated within the EU.
Umberto Raiteri, chief executive of ERP, said: “Treating three million tonnes of WEEE shows that ERP has contributed significantly to the EU circular economy, and proves that extended producer responsibility (EPR) in a competitive environment brings huge benefits for the environment at reasonable cost to producers.
”It also promotes innovation, which leads to higher quality treatment, preventing the release of hazardous substances and higher quality resources for the circular economy.”
The company quotes a recent report from Global E-Waste Monitor which estimates that global production will reach 52 million tonnes a year by 2021. It says recycling three million tonnes of WEEE is the equivalent of CO2 emissions of more than 32 million tonnes.
In 2014, ERP became part of the Landbell Group, an international supplier of service and consulting solutions for environmental and chemical compliance. The group has also collected more than seven million tonnes of packaging and around 50,000 tonnes of portable batteries.
Raiteri said he welcomed the Waste Package and Plastics Strategy, published by the European Commission in January, to strengthen the principle of EPR and create competition in the waste market.
He approved of a clear definition of roles and responsibilities for all relevant stakeholders and the introduction of EPR for businesses selling between member states to create a level playing field.
But he was concerned that producers might not be free to choose from multiple competing schemes.