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New Electronic Waste Rules Approved

New WEEE rules for the collection and treatment of e-waste, including the likes of old cell phones, will start to go slowly into effect over the course of the next seven years after a vote by MEPs on Thursday in Strasbourg.  The largest change will be the new requirement, which will start in four years time in 2016, for member states to collect as many as 45 tons of electronic waste per every 100 tons of electronic goods which are put on sale in the previous three years, a figure which will rise to as high as 65 tons by 2019.

Ten member states have been granted a lower 2016 target of just 40 percent, with an extension until 2022 for them to reach the final target.  These member states are the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Malta, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Slovakia and Romania.  Under current WEEE rules, the flat rate target is for four kilograms per person per annum.

The vote backs an agreement that was reached at the close of last year between member states and MEPs following months of negotiations.  German MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz, the Parliament’s rapporteur on the issue, says that he is pleased with the end result, yet frustrated by the attempts of member states to centralize the new recycling rules at EU level.  “In my 22 years I’ve never seen such a lack of will shown from the council,” he notes.

Member states refused a Parliament demand for companies to have to register as an electronic goods producer at EU level instead of in each member state.