Fabian Demicoli

Parliament approves recast of WEEE Directive

Extension of the mandatory take-back obligation still an issue for commerce – The recast WEEE Directive will bring some welcome improvements, but commerce regrets these may be outweighed by the mandatory take-back provisions.


Today, the European Parliament confirmed the trialogue agreement reached at the end of December on the recast of the WEEE Directive (waste electrical and electronic equipment). The changes will bring some advancement towards greater freedom of movement of electrical and electronic equipment; however it will impose a duty on retailers to take-back small volume WEEE, which may actually damage the long-term effectiveness of recycling provisions in the EU.

Christian Verschueren, EuroCommerce Director General said, "Our concern is that shops will eventually turn into collection points and that distributors take on responsibilities which rightly lie in the hands of producers and municipalities. We therefore particularly welcome the provision, whereby existing alternative schemes for collection must be maintained, not duplicated."

The commerce sector fully supports the principles of the internal market and has consistently encouraged efforts to increase the free movement of goods. We have always fully supported the environmental objectives of the WEEE Directive to improve the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment and contribute to resource efficiency. 

We therefore welcome the improvements introduced by the recast, which are a first step towards more harmonisation and reduced bureaucracy, thus helping small businesses and contributing to a better-functioning internal market. Nevertheless, there is still major concern about the long-term implications on the commerce sector of the new mandatory take-back of small volume WEEE by retailers.

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