ESC calls for "more ambitious" WEEE rules

EU advisory body welcomes producer responsibility, demands tougher targets, deadlines

The EU's advisory Economic and Social Committee has backed the European Commission's draft directive on waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) and a related draft directive that would phase-out the use of certain hazardous substances in electrogoods manufacture (ROS). In its opinion on the WEEE directive, the ESC nevertheless called for the proposals to be made "more ambitious".

The WEEE and ROS directives were published in June (ENDS Daily 13 June). In its current form, the WEEE directive would require member states to collect a certain amount of waste per person per year and for manufacturers to shoulder the majority of the costs of reusing or recycling the waste. Work on WEEE legislation has been painstaking and the proposals have been controversial (ENDS Daily 19 October).

One of the ESC's criticisms focuses on the absence of draft legislation to ensure that electrogoods are designed to allow for easier recycling and reuse. Such a draft directive is planned and was scheduled for publication before the end of the year. The ESC also believes that per capita waste collection targets in the WEEE directive should be made higher, the deadline for meeting them should be earlier than 2006, that there should not be a freeze on increasing the collection targets until 2009, and that the phase-out of certain hazardous substances in electrogoods manufacture should take place in 2004 instead of 2008.

More generally, the ESC opinion calls for an "explicit commitment" to amend WEEE legislation in future. In particular, the committee foresees a need to incorporate expected developments in EU policy on PVC.

Follow Up:
ESC, tel: +32 2 546 9207, the ESC's opinion and the draft WEEE directive.

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