The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) aims to reduce the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment. It increases re-use and recycling and reduces the amount of WEEE going to landfill. It makes producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and obliges distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge. This Directive has an impact on producers, distributors and recyclers of electrical and electronic equipment.
In 2008, the European Commission has proposed revised laws on recycling and use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The Commission has stressed that around 65% of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the market is separately collected however less than half of this is treated and reported according to the requirements of the Directive whereas the rest goes to landfill or ship abroad. Hence, the European Commission has proposed to revise the directive. In fact, the Commission has reached the conclusion that the directive is too complicated for operators in the market and for public authorities to implement.
According to the Commission the implementation of the WEEE has indicated “technical, legal and administrative problems that result in unintentionally costly efforts from market actors and administrations, continuing environmental harm, low levels of innovation in waste collection and treatment, a lack of level playing field or even distortion of competition and unnecessary administrative burden.”
The Council has not reached an agreement yet on collection modalities and on the level of the targets. In fact, Member States are widely divided in the approach to several provisions. In the other hand, the European Parliament has recently voted, at first reading, to tight up the Commission proposal. The MEPs proposed new targets for collecting, recycling and re-using waste.