WEEE collection reporting 'must improve'
Reporting on the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) must improve if new WEEE targets are to be met, stakeholders heard at a conference in London on Friday.
The conference was organised by the WEEE Forum, which represents a number of compliance schemes. Speakers included Karl Falkenberg of the European Commission, representatives from the manufacturing sector and recyclers.
Poor reporting and the lack of reliable data had already been pointed out at a conference organised by electronics firm HP in January.
Graham Davy of SIMS Recycling Solutions said the UK collected far more than required to meet the 45% weight-based target. Business-to-business data also needs improvement, he added.
The new WEEE directive, which member states must transpose into national law by 14 February 2014, sets a minimum collection rate of 45%, or 40% for new member states. This interim target will apply from 2016 until the end of 2018.
From 2019, member states will have a choice of two collection targets: 65% of EEE placed on the market or 85% of WEEE generated each year.
There was consensus among delegates at last week's conference that better data and reporting alone will not be enough from 2019.
One hurdle is the falling weight of electronics, as laptops and flat screen displays replace bulkier technology. This means more items will have to be collected per tonne in the future to meet the 85% weight-based target.
The growth of 'man and van' waste collections, driven by high metal prices, is also a threat. These recycle only a limited proportion of the WEEE they collect, and can pollute and pose health risks, said Leo Donovan of compliance scheme WEEE Ireland.
Karl Falkenberg told ENDS that responsible chains of custody need to be in place. The conference also heard that more convenient collection, better enforcement and financial incentives would help improve compliance.
Better compliance could boost the economy by reducing dependence on imported rare earth metals. The commission is considering non-protectionist policies to help retain such resources in the EU, Mr Falkenberg told the delegates.
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