International development charity, Computer Aid, has criticised the Council of the European Union for its disappointing proposals for changes to EU e-waste legislation.
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The Council proposes EU member states should annually collect 45% of electrical devices and electronic equipment for reuse and recycling, rising to 65% after four years, as part of new EU laws. The European Parliament previously outlined targets of 85% recycled e-waste.
Haley Bowcock, environmental advocacy officer at international development charity, Computer Aid, says the Council's first proposal is a step closer to introducing tougher laws next year but its cautious approach to the e-waste crisis and low collection targets are frustrating and disappointing.
"This will leave 55% of e-waste unaccounted for, which will continue to get sent to landfill or to other substandard treatment routes," said Bowcock.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations aim to reduce the amount of e-waste going to landfill, improve recycling rates as well as reduce illegal exports of waste from the EU. The Council and European Parliament will have to agree on collection targets before a new WEEE directive is introduced in 2012.
"We hope that negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament later this year yield a directive that is as bold in ambition as the exploding e-waste problem is serious," said Bowcock.
Recent figures show only one third of WEEE collected in the EU is treated according to legal requirements.
Negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament are expected to take place in the second half of 2011.
For me on the problem of e-waste, see Computer Weekly's special report Action Against E-Waste >>