Electronics recycling discussed by EU states

Most countries reported unhappy at collection, recycling, targets put forward by DGXI

Most EU member states are unhappy with draft targets for collection and recycling of electrical and electronics waste being proposed by the European Commission's environment directorate, DGXI, it has emerged.

At a meeting in Brussels held last week, national officials asked DGXI to abandon its proposed EU targets for waste collection, sources who attended the consultation session told ENDS Daily. According to EU countries, there are currently no reliable data on electronic waste arisings on which to set meaningful targets.

Countries also raised concerns over waste recycling targets being put forward by DGXI. In a working paper circulated last month, the department suggested that up to 90% of collected electronics waste should be recycled. Many member states said this was too high.

There is particular opposition to DGXI's proposal that waste incineration with energy recovery should not be counted towards meeting recycling targets. Several member states - reported to include Germany, France and the UK - said that incineration should be included. DGXI officials replied that the proposed targets were achievable without incineration based on experience from existing schemes.

DGXI's proposal to achieve collection and recycling targets by applying the producer responsibility principle through takeback schemes was another focus of discussion at the meeting. Member states called for flexibility in determining how takeback schemes should be financed, though officials from the Commission's industry directorate said that takeback financing rules should be precisely defined.

Several countries that already have electronic waste takeback schemes, including Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and some German states, were concerned about DGXI's proposal for separate collection systems for household and commercial waste - the latter to be set up by producers. But the Commission reassured countries that existing schemes where municipalities collect both sorts of waste could continue to operate.

A DGXI official said that member states had generally welcomed the proposal and that there was "no major opposition" to any of its specific points, which he said was "rare" at such an early stage. DGXI intends to circulate a revised draft proposal in July, after a meeting with non-governmental stakeholders in June.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111.

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