Europe – Three European organisations with an interest in the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment are lobbying for a more accurate way of calculating the size of the scrap pile as the EU continues to revise the WEEE Directive.
Originally, FEAD (European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services), EERA (European Electronics Recyclers Association) and Eurometaux (European Association of the Metals Industry) advocated an ambitious collection rate based on the numbers of electronic and electrical appliances placed on the EU market.
The organisations considered this more reliable than the existing WEEE-generated methodology, but now accept that their alternative plan, based on assumptions and estimates, was not robust enough. It was also likely to be too complex for setting an auditable collection target and for providing an accurate picture of the quantity of waste that will have to be managed in years to come.
However, the WEEE-generated methodology could lead to arguments between producers and EU member states about who is responsible for meeting collection targets. It could simply be decided that e-waste was not generated because it did not end up in producers’ take-back systems, and that collection obligations had therefore been met. The resulting uncertain market would inhibit the necessary investment in e-waste management solutions.
The three bodies now suggest a combination of both statistical methods, in which the collection rate is expressed in terms of e-waste arisings, but the level of appliances placed on the market is also taken into account.
This ‘double calculation’ method would offer both flexibility and reliability without creating an additional administrative burden, they claim, because existing assessments of the volume of e-waste generated are already partly based on the number of appliances going on sale.