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Electronic waste (WEEE) EP votes to tighten EU rules on waste electric and electronic goods


03 Feb 2011


Climate & Environment

The European Parliament today voted to revise EU legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The Greens welcomed the vote, which will tighten up the requirements and should close some of the loopholes that have led to problems with the implementation of the rules. After the vote, Green MEP Michail Tremopoulos said:

"Today's vote is a welcome step to tightening up EU rules on electric waste, notably ensuring more effective collection and treatment of WEEE. The EP has voted to redress the low collection rates, improper treatment and illegal exports of WEEE to third countries. By 2016, at least 85% of the waste that is arising annually should be collected, and all of it properly treated.  This is an important step forward.

"Another important improvement is the provision to ensure that retailers will now be obliged to take back very small waste appliances, such as light bulbs or mobile phones, regardless of whether a new appliance is sold at the same time. This applies to all retailers, including distant sellers (with the exception of micro-enterprises). Increasing the collection of these appliances and raising consumer awareness about this should reduce the amount of these small appliances ending up in the general waste stream and thereby escaping adequate treatment.

"Importantly, the EP has also voted to clamp down on illegal exports of WEEE outside the EU: only equipment that has been certified to be fully functional and sent properly may be exported. It is long overdue that we stop making developing countries the dumping ground for our hazardous waste.

"The Greens very much welcome the support of the EP for our proposal to oblige the Commission to assess whether separate treatment of nanomaterials in WEEE is required. Nanomaterials are being used more and more, and adequate treatment needs to be ensured."
Richard More O'Ferrall,
Press and media officer,
Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament
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