Brussels looks to boost WEEE reuse
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The European Commission (EC) is considering broadening the targets for WEEE to put more emphasis on reuse.
A review is underway in Brussels and the commission says it will be seeking feedback and information from the sector.
Maria Banti, from the EC’s Waste Management Unit, told delegates at the recent Bureau of International Recycling convention in Paris that contractors had been appointed to carry out a study. Researchers include the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability.
Banti said the review had three tasks:
- to re-examine ‘recovery’ targets;
- to assess the possibility of setting separate targets for WEEE to be prepared for reuse;
- to re-examine calculation methods.
The possibility of such a review was included in the 2012 WEEE directive which said: “On the basis of a report of the commission…, the European Parliament and the council shall, by 14 August 2016, re-examine the recovery targets referred to in Annex V, Part 3, examine the possibility of setting separate targets for WEEE to be prepared for reuse and re-examine the calculation method.”
The current method for calculating targets, for each product category, is to divide the weight of WEEE that enters a facility, after proper treatment, by the weight of all separately collected WEEE for each category, expressed as a percentage.
Existing targets for WEEE, as part of the recast directive, require a minimum collection target of 45% of products placed on the market from 2016 and 65% from 2019.
The Furniture Re-use Network has been working on the policy implications of WEEE at EU and UK level since 1999; leading the debate for the regulatory inclusion of reuse of WEEE and support for the reuse sector’s social aims within the Directive and in the eventual national regulations.
Craig Anderson of FRN said “We’ve been pushing for reuse targets since the turn of the century, but this is the closest we got to the position we’ve wanted all along. It is worth pointing out that back in 2007 the UK Government did go further than most other member states in supporting reuse of WEEE, by allowing for reuse to be counted within the overall ‘collection’ targets. There are and were separate recycling targets on top of that collection target, but if the EC chooses to introduce reuse targets on par to the recycling targets – reuse might actually be coming out of the shadow of recycling at long last.”