Call to revise EU legislation for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)


Production, use, and disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) have severe environmental impacts. The increasing demand for such devices exhausts valuable resources, causes high energy demand, and frequently leads to the release of harmful substances into the environment. 2019 data clearly show that almost all member states fail to collect sufficient WEEE separately and therefore do not reach the EU target of 65 percent collection. As a consequence, up to 4.8 million tonnes of WEEE are still disposed improperly every year (e.g. in nature, residual waste streams, or illegal exports) and lost for re-use and recycling. The existing Directive 2012/19/EU (WEEE2 directive) entered into force in August 2012 and went only through minor revisions since then. Contrary to most EU laws, there was no clear revision clause and date in the 2012 text. In fact, some important regulations (e.g. treatment requirements) still trace back to the first WEEE Directive from 2002. Since there is the need for particular urgent action to reduce environmental impacts from WEEE, 4 environmental NGOs and representatives of waste treatment operators call on the EU Commission for a quick and fundamental recast of WEEE legislation. The upcoming European initiative setting new design requirements and consumer rights for electronics should clearly call for the WEEE Directive review to be started no later than 2023. It is, furthermore, recommended to consider a replacement of the WEEE2 directive with a WEEE Regulation, since a regulation comes into force immediately and is more legally binding

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EEB, 11-03-22