Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) states that (Article 5) “Member States shall adopt appropriate measures to
- minimize the disposal of WEEE in the form of unsorted municipal waste;
- ensure the correct treatment of all collected WEEE;
- achieve a high level of separate collection of WEEE”.
From 2016, the minimum collection rate shall be 45% on weight basis of the average yearly amount of EEE placed on the market the three preceding years. From 2019, this should be 65%, or alternatively 85% of WEEE generated on the territory of the member state (Article 7). Member states ensure that the financing of the costs for collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE from users other than private households is to be provided by producers (Article 13). Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment Label of Excellence (WEEELABEX) demands, amongst other things, distinct quality levels for processing WEEE and hazardous substances, registrations and monitoring.
The categories of EEE covered by the Directive 2012/19/EU, starting from 15 August 2018 are:
- Temperature exchange equipment
- Screens, monitors, and equipment containing screens having a surface greater than 100 cm2
- Large equipment (any external dimension more than 50 cm)
- Small equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm)
- Small IT and telecommunication equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm)
The European WEEE Directive is implemented in the legislation of all three Belgian regions, i.e., Wallonia, Brussels Capital Region and Flanders. The Flemish policy based on the Directive 2012/19/EU is stated in article 3.4.4. of the VLAREMA (decree of the Flemish Government establishing the Flemish regulations on the sustainable management of material circuits and waste). VLAREMA states minimum collection rates, as indicated in the Directive 2012/19/EU, but diversifies reuse and recycling per category of EEE, for (non-) ferro as well as plastics. In Brussels Capital Region, the Directive 2012/19/EU was transposed in the legislation in 2017 in the Decree of the government of the Brussels Region concerning the management of waste products, B.S., 13 January 2017. The collection targets are the same as in the directive 2012/19/EU. Wallonia has implemented the EU Directive in the Decree of March 9th, 2017 of the Walloon Government.
In Germany the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG) regulates the putting on the market, recovery, and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment in Germany. The WEEE directive and Germany’s Electrical Products Act (ElektroG) also set specific recycling and recovery rates for various device classes. The target recovery rates for non-reusable devices range from 70 to 80 percent depending on device class, whereas the target recycling rates for such devices range from 50 to 80 percent.
The WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) was implemented by Hungary in 2004 with the government regulation of 264/2004 (IX.23.). Taking back of WEEE, including the extended producer responsibility and the polluter-pays-principle, implies that producers take over the (financial and/or operational) responsibility for collecting or taking back of used goods for separation and recycling.
The Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) resulted in consequences on the waste management issues of the EU, including WEEE as well. That is why harmonisation and modifications had to be conducted in the Hungarian legislation: the government regulation of 443/2012 (XII.29) on the waste management activities of WEEE implemented these changes.
In 2012, the WEEE Directive was recasted: the Directive 2012/19/EU came into force. It addressed the member states (including Hungary) to implement it into their national legislation until 14 February 2014. Hungary has got some delay on implementation, so most of the modifications are going to be done from 1. January 2018. The 443/2012 Government regulation mentioned above was also updated accordingly (197/2014 (VIII. 1.) government regulation).
The Dutch policy on WEEE, stated by the regulations of the Secretary of State for Infrastructure and the Environment of February 3rd 2014 nr IENM/BSK-2014/14758, follows the WEEE collection amounts as mentioned in the WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC). It is also prohibited to make EEE available with batteries that are difficult to remove from the equipment. Most of the regulations concerns WEEE of consumers.
In the Netherlands waste separation for companies is arranged in the environmental permits of a company. However, environmental permits are usually for large industrial sites e.g. heavy industry, chemical industry and food-industry. For companies who do not need an environmental permit (e.g. offices and shops) a minimum amount of a certain type of waste should be separated. For example, 40 kg of textile per week or 200 kg of organic waste per week. The minimum for WEEE, as well as for paper/cardboard, is 0 kg/week. It means that separation is compulsory at any amount. However, when the collection, logistics and further costs are 45 euros per ton more expensive, than waste collection via residual waste, a company is not obliged to separate WEEE.
In Slovenia the WEEE collection is regulated by the Decree on WEEE (Official Gazette of Republic of Slovenia, no. 55/15, 103/15), which also declares the amount of WEEE to be collected (41% of average mass of WEEE, which was put on the market in Slovenia in last three years from 2016 on, and 85% of annual WEEE waste from 2021), prepared for re-use or recycled.
According to above mentioned Decree, a goal from year 2018 on is to achieve following rates of re-using/recycling for different types of WEEE:
- 80% of WEEE belonging to large household appliences and entertainment electronics (televisions etc.),
- 70% of WEEE belonging to small household appliences,
- 55% of WEEE belonging to light equipment, electrical and electronical equipment (large devices for industrial application are excluded),
- 80% of WEEE belonging to IT and tele-communication equipment