Michele Raymond (michele@raymond.com)
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:00:31 -0400

I dont know where anybody got the idea that EPR destroys reuse.

Rusable containers, for example, are favored under such as system.
REusable crates are either exempt or you only pay once form takeback
systems in Europe.

Moreover, in electronics, I note that Compaq used to try to recycle 500,000
units per year -- they found a way to REUSE most of the parrts, and now
only have to recycle about 100,000 as I recall. The rest are refurbished
and re-sold as is. Takeback policies it would seem would encourage this.

What industry is concerned about in the WEE Directive is its very poorly
written --

here is my article covering what theysaid in a meeting recently

Copyright 1999 Raymond Communications Inc.
April 1999 Recycling Laws International

Electronics Directive Poorly Drafted, Industry Says
While the European Union is moving towards passage of an electronics
takeback directive, industry lobbyists have been busy trying to convince
drafters that the current proposal simply won't work.
A panel of industry experts explained the challenges at the 1999
ElectronicProduct Recovery and Recycling conference, sponsored by the EPR2
project of the National Safety Council March 24.
Clare Snow, head of the Industry Council for Electronics in the
Environment, U.K. said it is unlikely that any electronics directive would
take effect before 2003, but that the current draft has some nearly fatal
flaws that must be dealt with.
First, there is no definition of what an electronics item is - "It could
mean anything from a nuclear submarine to a lemon squeezer," she said.
Second, it is not clear who shall pay for recovery and how. The draft says
producers must pay for all costs, and economic instruments are allowed in
the member states. While the member state want the flexibility to
implement as they see fit, Snow says it will be a worse nightmare for
industry than the packaging directive if each country has a different
financing mechanism.
Targets: there are collection and then recovery targets in the draft; some
as high as 90%. However, since there is no good data on waste electronics
generation, it will be impossible to measure, and difficult to enforce.
The targets have been changed to four kilos per capita per year based on an
Austria pilot. Snow says most countries meet that standard already with
appliance recycling.
The draft also says collection targets only apply to households, not to
businesses. Snow says this ignores the largest opportunity for electronics
recovery. The Commission staff indicated they figured the commercial
stream was already being recovered =97 which is not the case. This was a
drafting error and will be corrected in the next draft.
Another big problem is the requirement that all electronics use 5%
recycled content in the plastic parts, she said. Besides the obvious
difficulty in reaching the goal for most IT products, she noted that it
will be impossible to measure recycled content in order to enforce the
The requirement to design for reuse and dismantling is a nice concept, but
Snow notes that it is impossible to know which route an electronic item
will take as its end of life. Moreover, some items are not desirable to
reuse (e.g. refrigerators) and must be shredded.
She stressed that standards are needed so that a recycler can easily
determine how to deal with a particular item.
Frank Orlandella, directory of regulatory affairs at Hewlett-Packard, was
particularly concerned about the draft's ban on heavy metals and certain
flame retardants. He noted that lead solder is widely used in IT equipment
and the integrity and safety of alternatives has not been proven. Both he
and Snow were skeptical of the 90% recovery rate to be required of CRT's.
And closing the loop on the plastics is difficult because of all the
additives and old machines. "The stream is not predictable!" he added.
H-P has been working with the American Electronics Assn. In Europe to form
coalitions to fight the directive =97 not to kill it but rather change the
focus of the debate. For example, the heavy metals bans might better be
addressed in a separate directive to go beyond just electronics, he
suggested. Industry wants the draft to reflect a shared responsibility and
not just industry footing the full load. While the European chamber has
been reticent, he notes that the Japanese businesses have been very
supportive and proactive in lobbying the issue.
Orlandella expressed concern that this directive could be selectively
enforced, creating new trade barriers for electronics sales in Europe.
If the patchwork of electronics regulations weren't confusing enough, Paul
Hagan, an international attorney with Beveridge & Diamond P.C. explained
that companies wanting to move their electronics scrap between countries
must contend with five different regulatory schemes:
=95 Basel Convention
=95 OECD Council Decision
=95 EC Council Regulation 259/93
=95 Bilateral agreements
=95 National laws
Under Basel, electronics scrap containing heavy metals is considered on
List A, which means it cannot be exported to a non-OECD country. List "B"
means it is on-hazardous and can be exported. List A also includes scrap
that is "contaminated" with heavy metal scrap. An exception is if the IT
item is destined for direct reuse.
The OECD color coding categorization of wastes "e.g. "Green" or "red" is
risk-based, and more flexible. However, OECD is considering switching to
the Basel method.
This will be discussed at an October 1999 OECD meeting, he added.
In the U.S. Congress is expected to take up Basel in a RCRA bill this
year, and there will be a challenge of reconciling RCRA
definitions/exemptions with Basel lists.
Contact: Hagan 202-789-6022; Snow:44-171 729-4766 E-Mail: info@acer.org.uk=
Recycling Laws International
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Michele Raymond
Michele Raymond
Recycling Laws International/ State Recycling Laws Update
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301/345-4237 Fax 345-4768