Consumers "should pay" for electronics recycling

Japanese executive weighs into EU debate on producer responsibility for waste

A senior advisor to Sharp, a major Japanese electronic goods manufacturer, has criticised European policy makers for effectively penalising manufacturers in efforts to improve management of end-of-life goods. Writing in this week's edition of Brussels-based newspaper European Voice, Yukata Wada stressed that "all sectors of society must accept responsibility" for finding a solution. "Of course manufacturers must bear their share," he said, "but an approach that assigns responsibility wholly to manufacturers...cannot in the long term be adequate." Mr Wada's public entry into the debate has come as the European Commission is beginning work to draft an EU directive on the recovery and recycling of electronic waste. Consumers could be assigned a share of responsibility in various ways, Mr Wada suggested. Labelling of the "accurate disposal cost" of every model should be made compulsory, he said, and consumers should be given a financial incentive to buy more environmentally friendly products, for example through a deposit system. "Regulation could be used to introduce a manufacturers' 'self-declaration' scheme [for disposal costs]...verified by an independent third-party...[and] valid for the average lifetime of the product," he suggested.

Follow Up:
European Voice, tel: +32 2 540 9090. References: "Time to take a new approach to recycling of electronic goods".

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