Electroscrap financing "must be individual"

Greens, industry, reiterate calls for directive to impose company-by-company responsibility

The European Parliament witnessed an unlikely alliance yesterday as green party MEPs joined with industry in urging EU governments to clearly favour individual rather than collective producer responsibility for financing waste treatment under the proposed waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive.

Next week the parliament's plenary assembly will complete its first reading of the draft law, allowing the council of ministers to adopt a common position in early June. So far governments have shown no sign of stipulating a preferred financing system in the directive. The European Commission's proposed wording leaves this choice open.

At a press conference designed to emphasise the broad support for individual financing, MEP Alexander de Roo said it was highly likely that all the parliament's major political groups would call for it to be mandatory except when this was "not feasible" or would lead to "disproportionately high cost". "Because of the united stand of the parliament [the council] will be forced to do something," he said.

Viktor Sundberg of Electrolux, a long-time enthusiast for individual financing, said manufacturers were also now in favour of the principle, despite previous misgivings in the white goods sector. "It seems like a lot has changed and the majority supports [it]," he said, referring to a recent position paper issued by industry federation Orgalime (ENDS Daily 23 April).

MEP Heidi Hautala said company-by-company responsibility was essential to foster innovation in environmental design and provide an early legislative boost to integrated product policy. Electrolux said the current wording of the directive "would amount to a waste tax and do nothing to encourage competition or the development of environmentally improved products."

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111; Green/EFA group, and press release; Electrolux, tel: +32 2 735 0930.

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