EU electroscrap law "will hit industry"

Internet trading will lead to "free rider" firms escaping financial responsibility says Orgalime

A draft EU directive on waste electronics management unveiled in June could cause "major distortions of competition" because it fails to take enough account of expected growth in electronic trading, according to trade association Orgalime, which represents most of the industry in Europe. A boom in internet sales could create a growing class of "free rider" firms escaping responsibility to pay for waste recycling, it says.

"The increasing weight of e-commerce will inevitably lead to a growing problem: there will be no "producer" in a specific country who can be charged for part of the waste management," the paper says. "This problem cannot be solved by simply mentioning electronic commerce [in the proposed directive]," it says, and "cannot be addressed by any national legislation. Up to 35% of some sectors of the market could be affected by 2003, it says.

The paper also presents Orgalime's detailed objections to the electroscrap directive plus another draft law under which several hazardous substances would be banned (ENDS Daily 13 June). Most reiterate points already made by the association (ENDS Daily 31 May).

Orgalime says the financial impact of the measures will be "enormous". It estimates the annual costs at euros 7.5bn to fund product take-back schemes, euros 15bn in investments to make technological changes and euros 40bn to deal with "historical" waste sold before the directives enter force.

It says the envisaged recycling targets are unrealistic and that some proposed waste treatment requirements are "redundant and incomplete." Plans to substitute lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium by 2008 have no scientific basis and should be scrapped, it concludes.

Follow Up:
Orgalime, tel: +32 2 706 8250, and its position paper.

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