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MEPs vote for ambitious e-waste management

03 February 2011
by EEB -- last modified 03 February 2011

The European Environmental Bureau, Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organisations, welcomes the outcome of today’s vote in European Parliament on the revision of the WEEE Directive.


MEPs voted for an ambitious revision of the WEEE Directive, which deals with e-waste - the fastest growing waste stream in Europe. The European Environmental Bureau has welcomed this outcome, saying it will help promote a more resource efficient future.

"By voting in favour of an ambitious collection target based on WEEE generated, by claiming for standards on e-waste management and by enabling financial incentives for optimized design, the European Parliament has grasped the important potentials of the WEEE legislation to change our e-waste management from pure end of pipe solutions to a more integrated approach on resources efficiency," said Stephane Arditi, EEB Senior Waste Policy Officer.

The plenary vote confirmed the ambition set by the European Parliament's Environment Committee last June. It sends a clear signal for the coming discussions with the Council and the European Commission.

The EEB also thanks the European Parliament to have chosen to confirm an amendment requiring member states to address consistently the financial resources to increase collection, as well as an amendment asking for a better consideration for nanomaterials in treatment processes.

E-waste contains hazardous substances such as heavy metals and chemicals which can damage human health and the environment, but today more than 50% of the WEEE generated follows unofficial collection routes, sometimes leading to illegal export and improper treatments.

E-waste also contains precious metals, plastics and other materials which are depleting or which are under threat of supply shortage, but today only 20% of the WEEE generated in EU is recycled.

The European Environmental Bureau is a federation of over 140 environmental citizens’ organisations based in all 27 European Union's Member States. EEB promotes EU’s ‘Green Leadership’. The EEB office was set up in Brussels in 1974 it is meant to monitor the EU’s environmental policy. EEB has an information service, runs working groups of EEB members, produces position papers on topics that are on the EU agenda, and represents its members in discussions with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council. It coordinates EU-oriented activities with members at national level, and also closely follows the EU enlargement process and the Aarhus Convention EU oriented activities.

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