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Forum takes critical look at WEEE

Europe – If newly-introduced waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) targets are to be achieved, reporting on collections must see significant improvements, it was argued at the latest WEEE Forum conference in London.

An issue in the UK is that it is collecting far more than required to meet the 45% weight-based target, stated Sims Recycling Solutions’€™ CEO Graham Davy. Noting that these figures are ‘€˜just not being recorded’€™, he claimed that a more thorough approach is also needed with regard to business-to-business data.

Conference delegates agreed that merely upping the stakes on reporting will not be sufficient to reach the two options available from 2019 – either collecting 65% of WEEE placed on the market or 85% of WEEE generated each year. A leading objection to the latter is tied to the declining weight of electronics such as lap-tops and flat screen televisions as this means more items will have to be collected on the whole.

Apart from changes to product design, the increase in high-metal-price-driven ‘€˜man and van’€™ waste collections was also highlighted as a negative influence on the industry, largely because they recycle only a small proportion of the discarded electrics and electronics they gather and thus create ample opportunities for pollution, according to WEEE Ireland’€™s CEO Leo Donovan.

Reducing dependence on imported rare earth metals should also be a prominent aim of recycling-related endeavours, asserted the European Commission’€™s Director-General for the Environment Karl Falkenberg. He stated that this could be reached through better compliance and informed delegates that the Commission is currently considering non-protectionist policies to help keep such resources within the EU.

For more information, visit: www.weeeforumconference.org

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