A boost in e-waste recycling looks likely as EU backs down on plans to axe ambitious waste proposals

The European Commission has backed down from plans to axe the ambitious waste recycling and air quality targets. The decision was made following outcry when the plans were leaked. Waste recycling and air quality target legislation will however be heavily amended.

Bamboo Distributions looks at how the environmental legislation amendments will mean electronic recycling is more important than ever.

In December 2014, reports emerged that a clean air directive designed to reduce the health implications caused by air pollution, alongside a waste directive that would set state targets of recycling 70% of waste by 2030, were to be scrapped.

However, due to intense opposition, it has since emerged that the EU has backed down from axing the ambitious environmental plans but instead plans to heavily amend the proposals.

“The Commission has backed down from scrapping these environmental proposals entirely,” said Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP, adding:

“But we must now prevent them from being watered-down.”

Phasing out landfill dumping

The ambitious plans would have seen the waste directive, phase out landfill dumping by 2025. It would have also set a 90% paper recycling rate. It would have also seen EU states have to recycle 70% of their municipal waste by 2030.

The proposals were set to be withdrawn due to the EU admitting it saw “no foreseeable agreement” with European states that have poor recycling records. Such states would also require financial assistance to meet the targets.

Amending the targets

In the wake of huge opposition to scrap the proposals, the EU has announced that it will amend the targets. According to Frans Timmermans the Vice President of the European Commission, implementing amendments will enable the commission to come forward with a “broader, more ambitious approach that can be more effective.”

The fact that the EU has backed down on scrapping laws on waste and air quality directives and plans to provide a “more ambitious and effective approach” means we are likely to see a boost in recycling.

In 2012 the EU revamped electronic waste legislation by implementing new recovery targets. The updates to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which was established in 2003, imposed new targets for EU member states to collect 45% of electronic devices by 2016, to collecting 65% of electronic waste generated by 2019.

The WEEE amendments also introduced strict new penalties for member states and companies which failed to comply with the new rules.

As Europe is not rich in many critical resources and has been criticised for being inefficient and wasteful of the critical resources it does have, it stands to reason that any new amendments the EU makes in its waste and air quality directives are likely to include boosting e-waste recovery.

With this in mind, electronic recycling in the EU is likely to become more important than ever in the forthcoming years.

Bamboo Distribution is committed to keeping electronic waste out of the landfills by reusing mobile phones and other devices that are considered waste. By providing a value for equipment that is regarded as scrap, Bamboo allows an increased return for our clients and partners.   

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