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WEEE recast – Is the glass half full or half empty?


04 Feb 2011


Climate & Environment
Euro & Finance

Today, the WEEE Directive took another step forward in the recast process with the European Parliament’s adoption of its first reading report.


The result leaves European engineering companies with mixed feelings and the jury is still out on whether the glass is half full or half empty. Said Orgalime Director General Adrian Harris: “As usual, there are some positive and some negative outcomes from this vote. On the one hand, we see there is a drive to define more realistic collection rates - albeit still ambitious, and there has been an improvement through making it easier for companies to appoint a legal representative instead of being obliged to be physically present in each Member State ‘just’ for the purpose of registration. We thank MEPs for this. However, the new provisions on widening the scope leave industry in legal limbo yet again, this time with potential costly consequences, as some capital goods which would never find their way into household waste are likely to be in scope. Besides, restructuring the existing 10 product categories into five categories means that companies will just have to re-programme all their information systems at great cost. And for what purpose?”


In addition, the proposed modifications to financing the management of waste collection from households, including new provisions for sorting equipment destined for reuse, which is today essentially managed by local authorities and paid for through local taxes covering all waste collection will just shift additional burdens onto producers; consumers will unfortunately just end up paying more for no additional benefit to them or the environment.


Orgalime had already been disappointed back in June 2010 when the EPs Environment Committee failed to recognise and introduce several significant improvements that would have helped industry to manage legislation in which they have already invested heavily. “We really

hope that the European Council will address the open points to pave the way for a reasonable compromise in 2nd reading so that the European engineering industry can retain its fragile momentum in the recovery of the European economy. It is all very well for the EU institutions in their EU2020 strategy to trumpet that they are putting manufacturing back on centre stage, but if the framework conditions for companies operating in Europe get worse with every new bit of legislation, the drift of industrial investment overseas will just go on accelerating.” added Harris.




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