WEEE Forum Calls for Action on WEEE in Metal Scrap

The WEEE Forum has today published a paper outlining the issues associated with the treatment of WEEE as metal scrap and has called on the competent authorities to take appropriate action. The paper discusses how treating WEEE as metal scrap is problematic and encourages those responsible to penalize facilities that do so.

The practice of collecting or purchasing WEEE and handling it together with metal scrap is, unfortunately, a common practice in Europe and globally. This situation gives rise to environmental, health and safety issues because hazardous substances may likely not have been adequately removed or extracted. It also gives rise to compliance issues because WEEE collected and treated as metal scrap escapes the official routes that count towards reaching the collection targets set in WEEE legislation; attaining these targets has become very hard.

The attainment of the collection targets requires a redirection of WEEE tonnages into the officially reported flows. Competent authorities must prohibit the practice of purchasing and processing metal scrap that contains WEEE, unless they are treated and processed by facilities that are officially permitted or certified to do so. They must develop targeted, systematic enforcement actions to identify facilities that treat WEEE as scrap and penalize them. A lot of the issues result from failure of the operator permitting system; policies which mandate the scrap sector in the reporting of WEEE are called for.

Lucia Herreras, Deputy Director General of the WEEE Forum and one of the authors of the report said, “Due to low levels of enforcement activity, and PROs not having access to scrap facilities for data collection, reliable information on the WEEE tonnages affected by these practices is scarce. Finding an appropriate, harmonized methodology to collect data about how much WEEE disappears in the metal scrap stream is crucial to understand what is going on in the e-waste market.”

Member States can use substantiated estimates, as referred to in Article 16 of the Directive, provided WEEE not properly treated stays out of the equation, otherwise it creates an unlevel playing field for the other Member States in achieving the collection targets in Europe.

The issues associated with WEEE in metal scrap will be discussed with representatives of the United Nations, author of a WEEE Flows report, the European Commission and the stakeholders community at a WEEE Forum event on 24 November 2020, in Brussels and online. Registration to the event will open soon.

Direct link to the issue paper: https://weee-forum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/WEEE-in-Metal-Scrap_Issue-paper_Draft_v7_Final.pdf


The WEEE Forum, set up in 2002, is the world’s largest multi-national centre of competence as regards management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It is a Brussels-based, international not-for-profit association speaking for forty not-for-profit electrical and electronic equipment waste producer responsibility organisations (PRO). The forty PROs are based in Europe, Oceania, Africa, Asia and the Americas: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Italy, Greece, France, Iceland, India, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In 2018, its member organisations reported collection and proper de-pollution and recycling of 2,400,000 tonnes of WEEE. Members: Appliances Recycling, ASEKOL, Australia New Zealand Recycling Platform, Cobat RAEE, Ecodom, Ecologic, ecosystem, Ecotic, ECOTIC, Ecotrel, EES-Ringlus, EGIO, Electrão, Electrocyclosis Cyprus, ElektroEko, Elektrowin, El-Kretsen, elretur, Environ, EPRA, EPRON, Fotokiklosi, Karo Sambhav, Norsirk, Recyclia, Recipo, Recupel, Remedia, RENAS, Repic, RoRec, SENS e-Recycling, SWICO, UFH, Úrvinnslusjóður, Wecycle, WEEE Ireland, WEEE Malta, WEEE Recycle and Zeos.

More information is available at https://weee-forum.org/ or by contacting Director General, Pascal Leroy pascal.leroy@weee-forum.org


Source: WEEE Forum (Brussels, October 6, 2020)