The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive*) is the directive addressing issues of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU expected to reach more than 12 Mt by 2020. It refers to cell phones, computers, TV-sets, wash machines, friges, etc.
”WEEE is a complex mixture of materials and components that because of their hazardous content, and if not properly managed, can cause major environmental and health problems. Moreover, the production of modern electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources (e.g. around 10% of total gold worldwide is used for their production). To improve the environmental management of WEEE and to contribute to a circular economy and enhance resource efficiency the improvement of collection, treatment and recycling of electronics at the end of their life is essential.”, DG ENV
The Directive provided creation of collection schemes where consumers return their WEEE free of charge aiming to increase the recycling of WEEE and/or re-use, while as the Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive*) set restrictions upon European manufacturers with regard to the material content of new electronic equipment placed on the market.
DID YOU NOW?
- 1 tonne of WEEE from urban mines contains 40 to 50 times more scarce metals than 1 tonne of a mineral from natural mines!
- Less then 1 mobile phone out of 20 is recycled at the global level!
- Mobile phone battery which consists cadmium-nickel if ends up in water could pollute 600.000 l!
*Both directives have been revised.
Written by Ivana Letic