Trust those wits in Brussels – they name a key piece of legislation for the waste management and recycling industry, the WEEE directive. Very Funny. In fact, so funny that it will come into force today and will have some pretty serious implications for British producers and importers of electronic goods. It’s definitely a very catchy acronym.
The long-awaited Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires manufacturers to fund recycling schemes and for retailers to offer to take back waste electrical goods from customers. The overall aim is for 4kg of “e-waste” to be recycled per person.
The UK is currently producing 1.2 million tones of waste per annum, of which e-waste (PCs, games consoles, microwaves and washing machines) is the fastest-growing form in the EU. Up until now, most of the electronic waste would go to landfill, prompting fears that we might end up with a similar waste crisis to that of Naples.
Jonathan Wright, a senior supply chain executive for Accenture said, “Now, organisations are having to think about what is going to happen after the product has been sold.”
In recent Months, there have been several high-profile campaigns to encourage technology brands to improve their act. One famous example is the Greenpeace “Green my Apple” campaign, which put sufficient pressure on Apple Computer to change their policy. After all, if we take a careful look at their board members, Al Gore, the famous US ex-vice president turned eco-activist appears on their list. Perhaps, the reason for Apple’s swift change in policy.
There have been several criticisms of the WEEE legislation, notably that it is not as strict as that of Japan’s on the issue. However, we may be reassured that the directive is up for review in 2008, five years after the initial agreement to implement the law tackling waste.