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[GreenYes] new British/European e-waste recycling law
From The Guardian newspaper in London:



Britain accepts recycling deal

Councils must collect and separate electronic waste

Andrew Osborn in Brussels
Saturday October 12, 2002
The Guardian

Britain yesterday signed up for the biggest household recycling scheme
Europe has seen, promising to recycle much of the million tonnes of
electronic waste the UK produces every year.
In a move that will mean electrical goods from TVs to toasters are recycled
at the manufacturer's expense within four years, a new EU directive was
finally agreed after years of negotiations.

Under the new legislation, which follows fraught haggling between EU member
states and the European parliament, local authorities will be forced to
ensure that all electrical and electronic waste is separated from other
household rubbish from December 31 2006.

Initially, they will be legally bound to collect a minimum of 4kg of
electrical waste per person each year - every European consumer produces
14kg a year - but that binding target is expected to rise substantially in
2008 when it comes up for review.

At least 75% of what is collected will then have to be recycled by law.

The legislation will cover TVs, washing machines, stereos, computers, mobile
phones, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, light bulbs or any thing considered
electrical or electronic.

The directive is expected to radically alter recycling culture in the UK.

"Britain is going to be forced to meet European best practice standards
exemplified by countries such as Sweden and Denmark," said Chris Davies, a
Liberal Democrat MEP who helped negotiate the deal.

"This will place a significant burden on local authorities and put real
pressure on the UK government to start separating waste and recycling. The
UK is falling way behind its own targets on this."

The cost of dismantling and recycling will be borne by manufacturers, but
they are expected to pass it on to consumers. Authorities say prices for
electrical goods are likely to rise by up to 5%.

Margot Wallstrom, the EU's environment commissioner, hailed the deal as a
real breakthrough. "In Europe we are fortunate to enjoy vast consumer choice
when it comes to electrical and electronic equipment," she said.

"But now we can be confident that when we dispose of our mobile phone, video
recorder or PC they are not simply landfilled, creating waste mountains. The
consumer will be able to return equipment at the end of its life, free of
charge, and send it for environmentally sound treatment, re-use and
recycling."

A nationwide collection system will have to be set up by the end of 2006. EU
legislation requiring old cars and fridges to be recycled has seen unsightly
scrap mountains spring up all over the UK and the government is keen to
avoid the same mistake.

In a separate deal, a partial ban on the use in electrical goods of four
heavy metals - lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium - was also
agreed. All four are hazardous to the environment when disposed of in
landfill sites. Manufacturers said the directive would force them to change
the way they design their products.

"There is now a real incentive for every manufacturer to create products
where more parts can be recycled and at a lower cost," said Henrik Sundstrom
of Electrolux. "It's good for the environment, good for the consumer and
good for business."

An estimated million tonnes of electrical waste is produced in the UK every
year and this is increasing by 5% annually. Of this, 90% is thrown into
landfill sites or incinerated, despite the fact that many electrical goods
contain substances which harm the environment and are soon to be banned.



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