The European Recycling Platform (ERP), Ireland’s only pan-European compliance scheme for electrical and electronic waste and waste battery recycling, has welcomed the completion of the European Union’s legislative process with the publication of the recast of the EU Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
The new WEEE Directive aims to improve collection, re-use and recycling of used electronic devices so as to contribute to the reduction of waste and to the efficient use of resources. It also seeks to limit illegal exports of such waste from the EU and to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of EEE, eg producers, distributors and consumers.
Having actively participated throughout the review process, ERP will now play a central role at local level in Ireland to support the Government and Department of the Environment in progressing the review, rollout and implementation of national legislation that meets the requirements of the new EU Directive.
Among the key changes approved by the Council include an increase in the annual collection targets, four years after the new directive comes into force, to 45% of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment placed in national markets, increasing to a 65% collection rate three years later. The Council has also widened the scope of the legislation to include photovoltaic panels, among the existing product categories of electric and electronic equipment covered by the Directive, including IT equipment, large and small domestic appliances, lamps and home entertainment appliances. It also provides for the collection, at retail shops with sales areas relating to EEE of at least 400m2, or in the immediate proximity, of very small WEEE (no more than 25cm) free of charge to end-users.
Martin Tobin, chief executive of ERP Ireland, comments: “We very much welcome initiatives that make for a more efficient and effective system for managing WEEE. We are particularly pleased to see a number of aspects in the new Directive, including a set of articles on the prevention of ‘leakage’ of WEEE to non-authorised channels, the specific permitting of treatment facilities and new rules to provide for greater harmonisation of registers across Member States. In relation to this latest recast EU Directive, ERP will now work closely with national government, industry organisations and other stakeholders to shape and ensure local implementations which are uniform across Europe and which ensure WEEE management meets environmental goals in an economic way.”
Following the EU’s adoption and publication of the new WEEE Directive, the Irish Government is now set to conduct its’ own thorough review of the new Directive with a view to implementing into national legislation within 18 months.
Since 2005, from when the original WEEE Directive came into force,Irelandhas been performing well in meeting its collection targets of 4kg per head. Figures for 2011 indicate thatIrelandachieved an average of almost 8kg recycled per head, twice the 4kg target currently set in Europe,