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Environmental law is what we do. TM 1191 Second Avenue Suite 2200 Seattle, WA 98101 ELECTRONIC WASTE RECYCLING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental law is what we do. TM 1191 Second Avenue Suite 2200 Seattle, WA 98101 ELECTRONIC WASTE RECYCLING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental law is what we do. TM 1191 Second Avenue Suite 2200 Seattle, WA 98101 ELECTRONIC WASTE RECYCLING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION Michael Lufkin Marten Law Group PLLC

2 Why Are European Efforts at EWR Relevant to Washington State EU Legislation relies on similar take-back and producer responsibility principles as new Washington law. EU experience in establishing collective take back systems could assist in development of “standard plan” in Washington. Opportunity to learn from EU member states’ implementation efforts. Opportunity to identify areas where harmonization is possible.

3 European Union Legislation on Electronic Waste EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) adopted in January 2003. EC Directive on the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) adopted in January 2003. EU does not impose requirements on companies or consumers but rather require member states to implement directives through national legislation.

4 Key Characteristics of the WEEE Directive Objective is to reduce WEEE disposal to landfills Provides for free producer take back scheme for consumers of electronic products Aims to improve product design in order to prevent WEEE and improve recyclability Achieve specified targets for recovery of different classes of WEEE Provide for establishment of collection facilities and systems of WEEE from private households Provide for establishment of financing system for recovery and treatment of WEEE

5 Categories of Products Covered By WEEE Directive Large household appliances Small household appliances IT and Telecommunications equipment (e.g. computers and cell phones) Consumer equipment (e.g. radios, TVs) Lighting equipment Electrical and electronic tools Toys (e.g. video games) Medical devices Monitoring & control instruments (e.g. smoke detectors) Automatic dispensers (e.g. drink machines)

6 Targets for Reuse/Recycling Directive establishes targets for recovery and recycling of products from each category of covered products. Rates must be met by December 31, 2006. (Imposed on member states) IT and Telecommunications  75% Recovery rate  50% Recycling rate

7 Producer Responsibility WEEE Directive based on principal that producers finance take-back of own products at end-of-life. Two options:  Individual take-back plans Producers set up individual take back plan for products in each country.  Collective take-back plans Organization takes on the legal obligation for producer or group of producers.

8 Collective Take-Back Plans Typically not-for-profit organizations established by groups of companies or trade associations. Organize and coordinate the collection and recycling responsibilities of members throughout a country. Take care of the practical implementation of the take back obligation. Costs of membership typically based on market share.

9 Collective Take-Back Systems Advantages:  Economies of scale often make collective take back systems more cost effective.  Producers and importers often lack the expertise necessary to run waste collection systems.  Avoids the need to set up 25 (the current number of EU member states) separate individual take back plans Disadvantages:  Removes incentive for individual producers to alter product design to make it more eco-friendly or recyclable. (no recovery of benefits under collective system.)  Most national schemes discourage individual plans and encourage producers to join national collective scheme.

10 Directive Requires Separate Collection of WEEE Directive requires that member states have producer financed separate collection systems in place by August 2005. Must allow consumers the ability to return WEEE free of charge. Directive does not mandate how and where collection systems are set up. Target rate of 4 kg per person/per year by December 2008.

11 Treatment Must apply best available treatment technology for recovered products. Directive identifies specific types of treatment technologies/methodologies to be used. Treatment can be done outside of EU but exporter must prove that EU equivalent treatment took place to receive credit towards target. Washington could utilize similar approach to address concern about exports.

12 Financing of Take-Back Obligation Producers responsible. Producers are defined as the brand name on the product or the importer of the product. For products placed on market after August 2005, each producer is responsible for providing a financial guarantee for management of waste. (e.g. recycling insurance, bank guarantee, bond). May not impose fees For products placed in market before August 2005 (historical waste), financing is to be shared by all producers in proportion to market share. May impose fees.

13 Labeling and Product Information All new products placed on market after August 2005 must bear label identifying producer. Producers must also provide consumers information on: Location of collection points Requirement to dispose of waste separately Health and environmental impacts of e-waste.

14 Implementation: General Issues Delay in adopting national legislation  Deadline to implement WEEE Directive was August 2005.  Most countries missed the deadline, including Germany, France, and the UK. Countries that did make deadline typically had established WEEE recycling culture in place

15 Implementation: General Issues Free Riders and orphans:  Currently measure about 10-20% of product in market  Create equity problems for complying producers who must pick up cost of recycling orphan product.  Lack of enforcement by member states seen as contributing to free rider problem. Many countries have no enforcement program.

16 Implementation: General Issues National Scheme Divergence  Different national laws implementing directive have caused complexity for industry.  Example: National collective system v. competitive clearinghouse system National Collective System:  Responsible for collection, recycling and financing across country  Single market player (monopoly)  Typically utilized by smaller countries (Belgium, Netherlands), and those that had existing WEEE systems Clearinghouse system  Government creates framework that encourages multiple parties  Promotes competition  Typically utilized by larger countries with no history of WEEE

17 National Collective System v. Competitive Clearinghouse Competitive Clearinghouse:  Have been slower to develop and implement.  Can cause confusion for consumer with multiple collection providers.  More cost effective. HP study found recycling costs lower in countries with competitive recycling providers. National Collective:  Easier to implement  Better economy of scale for smaller countries  Provides clarity for consumers

18 Attorney:Michael Lufkin Address: 1191 Second Avenue, Suite 2200 Seattle, WA 98101 Main:(206) 292-2600 Direct:(206) 292-2619 Facsimile:(206) 292-2601 MLG

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