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WEEE Forum looks back on 20 years of EPR

The 20th anniversary of the WEEE Forum is coming up with the organisation saying it ‘gives many reasons to celebrate but also to reflect on the past and ponder the future’.

Two decades of developments will be discussed at the EPR Grand Challenge conference on 7 December in Brussels. This milestone event will be attended by more than 160 international electronics recycling experts, policymakers and innovators and will be kicked off by Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment.

Four challenges form the focus of the agenda:

  • Delivering the Circular Economy
    The European Green Deal requires the EU to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and make the EU climate neutral by 2050. ‘In this context, it needs to be clear how the worldwide societal challenge of e-scrap can be collectively addressed,’ says WEEE Forum director general Pascal Leroy.
  • Producer responsibility around the world
    E-scrap is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide and global issues call for global solutions. ‘There is a business case for a UN Treaty on plastic pollution, for example, but should the states under the UN also sign up to a Global Compact on electronic waste?’ Leroy argues. ‘If so, how can we propel e-waste collection rates in countries with no extended producer responsibility (EPR)-based regulation?’
  • Transitioning to a low-carbon economy
    Secure and sustainable access to the secondary raw materials is seen as key to a clean and eco-friendly future. The WEEE Forum supports the proposed Critical Raw Materials (CRM) Act, which is about mobilising the means to succeed. Guillaume Pitron, French journalist and author of the best selling ‘The Rare Metals War’, will address how the e-scrap collection sector can boost access to CRMs and make Europe less dependant on external sources.
  • Status quo and what’s next for e-scrap legislation?
    In Europe, 55% of discarded electronics is formally collected and reported. Other parts of the world show much lower growth rates in collection with a reported average global collection rate of 17%. The disparity is said to be largely due to 20 years of EPR legislation across Europe. ‘Legislation must be redesigned to make it fit for purpose for new market realities and challenges,’ Leroy says.

Industry representatives are being invited to participate in the event which will be concluded by a 20th anniversary dinner. Those attending include captains of industry and chief executives of Europe’s leading producer responsibility organisations, legislators, leading producers, industry associations, academics, NGOs and members of the media. For more information about the conference and registration, please go to :https://weeeforumconference.com/

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