The revised EU WEEE laws have come into force.
The UK as well as other European Union Member States has until the 14th of February 2014 to bring themselves in line with the recast of the WEEE Directive, after the legislation came into force on the 13th of August.
The Recast has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union last month; it takes 20 days to enter the EU law having been delayed due to adjustments to the wording of the legislation.
The Recast of the WEEE Directive stated that Member States have up until February of 2014 to update their legislation in line with the recast.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) is the European Community directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003.
Recycling and recovery collection targets for all types of electrical goods were set in the WEEE Directive, with a minimum rate of 4kg per head of population per annum recovered for recycling by 2009. Restrictions were placed upon European manufacturers as to the material content of new electronic equipment placed on the market.
Within the Recast it stated that Member States will be required to collect 45 tonnes of WEEE for every 100 tonnes put onto the market in the three preceding years, this is the equivalent to 45% by 2016.
A further rise will occur in relation to these targets; in 2019 it will increase to a rate of 65 tonnes from every 100 put onto the market, the equivalent to 65%.
The Directive will give Member States greater power to fight the illegal export of waste, according to the European Union.
The EU is trying to decrease the export of WEEE disguised as legal shipments of used equipment to circumvent EU waste treatment rules through this legislation, this is to prevent to prevent waste electricals from being processed in countries where conditions are hazardous to workers and the environment will also come into place. The measures will see exporters made responsible for proving that goods are being shipped abroad for repair or reuse.
The new laws will also see retailers of electrical items whose shop space covers at least 400m2 required to provide facilities for customers to return small WEEE (no more than 25cm) free of charge or show that an alternative system is equally as effective.
An Environment Commissioner said:
“In these times of economic turmoil and rising prices for raw materials, resource efficiency is where environmental benefits and innovative growth opportunities come together. We now need to open new collection channels for electronic waste and improve the effectiveness of existing ones. I encourage the Member States to meet these new targets before the formal deadline.”
Exporters will also be obliged to test whether equipment works and provide documents on the nature of shipments that could be illegal. The revised Directive aims to reduce the administrative burden on exporters through harmonisation of national registration and reporting requirements.
It is estimated that the EU volume of WEEE will increase to 12 million tonnes by 2020. If Member States meet the 85% collection target set out in the Recast, it is thought that on 2020 around 10 million tons, or more or less 20kg per capita, will be collected separately within the EU/.
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