Fabian Demicoli

EU Waste developments: More producer responsibility for waste

All
businesses must be aware that new rules for the disposal of a variety of waste
must be transposed into UK Law by August 14 2004.

The Packaging Waste
Regulations (SI 1997 No 648) were the first in a series of EU measures based on
the principle that those who produce a product should be responsible for dealing
with that product at the end of its life when it becomes waste. This principle
is known as 'producer responsibility for waste'. For example, the End of Life
Vehicles Directive introduces responsibility for cars and other vehicles.

The WEEE and RoHS Directives

Another is the Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive which, together with the
related Directive on restrictions on the use of certain hazardous substances in
electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) was adopted on 13 February 2003.

Another is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
Directive which, together with the related Directive on restrictions on the use
of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS)
was adopted on 13 February 2003.

Recognising that many hazardous
substances are used in electrical and electronic equipment (eg lead, cadmium,
mercury, bromine compounds etc), both Directives aim to minimise the impact of
electrical and electronic equipment on the environment during both their working
life and when they enter the waste stream.

The WEEE Directive sets
collection, treatment, recycling and recovery targets for a wide variety of
waste electrical and electronic equipment. Producers of the relevant electrical
and electronic equipment will become responsible for financing most of these
activities although, in the case of commercial electrical and electronic
equipment, they will be able to pass through these costs to the business
user.

The ROHS Directive seeks to restrict the use of various hazardous
substances in new electrical and electronic equipment. From 1 July 2006, the
sale of new products in the EU which contain more than agreed levels of certain
prescribed substances will be banned unless their use falls within one of the
small number of exempted processes where the use of these substances are
permitted until alternatives are found.

Key
Dates

The UK and other EU member states must transpose both the
WEEE and RoHS Directives into national law by 13 August 2004, with various
requirements coming into force in 2004, 2005 and 2006.The UK Government is
currently on track

 

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