New EU law clamps down on electronic waste

Retailers will be required to take back old electronic equipment

On Monday a European Union law that will require all large electronic retailers to take back old equipment came into force.

The new rules are part of a shake-up of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and will gradually be implemented across the E.U. over the next seven years.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment, or WEEE, is one the fastest growing waste streams in the E.U., but currently only one-third of electrical and electronic waste is separately collected and appropriately treated. Systematic collection and proper treatment is essential for recycling materials like gold, silver, copper and rare metals in used TVs, laptops and mobile phones.

The revised directive will increase the collection target from its current 4 kilograms per capita to around 20 kg per capita by 2020. By 2020, it is estimated that the volume of WEEE will increase to 12 million tons and the E.U. authorities want to see at least 85 percent of that collected and treated. From 2018, the directive will be extended from its current restricted scope to all categories of electronic waste.

Meanwhile the retailer take-back plan means that by February 2014 at the latest, larger electrical goods stores, with a shop space of 400 square meters or larger, will have to accept small WEEE items, such as mobile phones, free of charge, without consumers having to purchase a new product.

The revised directive also includes a clampdown on illegal exports of waste electronic equipment. Equipment that is no longer under warranty can only be exported to non-OECD countries if it has been certified to be fully functional and sent properly.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?