Stringent new European e-waste rules officially came into effect last week, updating the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, imposing a series of ambitious new e-waste recovery and recycling targets on the IT and electronics industry while also introducing stringent new penalties for companies and member states who fail to comply with the rules. Meanwhile in Singapore, telecoms provider StarHub is taking the lead with an innovative e-waste campaign with 39 collection points. Read More
By Jenny Marusiak for eco-busness.com (21 August 2012):
Can Starhub convince Singaporeans to clean up their e-waste habits?
Singapore’s first mainstream e-waste recycling programme is expanding after only five months of operation, announced local telecommunications and cable provider StarHub on Tuesday.
StarHub will add 34 electronic waste collection bins to the five that it had set up at its service centres to celebrate Earth Hour in March.
Local recycling firm TES-AMM will collect e-waste from the new bins, which will be placed at schools, community centres and private condominiums around the island this month.
“Although e-waste is one of the most toxic waste products of all, limited avenues exist for consumers to responsibly discard their old electronic products,” said StarHub CSR manager Adam Reutens-Tan in a statement.
“We wanted to drive consumer recycling of e-waste by making it more convenient for them to find somewhere to recycle their e-waste,” he added.
However, choosing the right locations was a learning process, he told Eco-Business in a phone interview.
While the programme has collected more than 1,480 tonnes of e-waste so far, much of it has been dominated by a single centre at Plaza Singapura on Orchard Road.
Four out of five of the existing locations are in the central business district, and there is no explanation as to why some work better than others, said Mr Reutens-Tan, who has started giving awareness-raising talks at the schools involved to boost participation.
Existing Locations for Recycling
» Level 3 South Wing, StarHub Green, 67 Ubi Avenue 1
» Level 4, *SCAPE, 2 Orchard Link
» #05-08, OUB Centre, 1 Raffles Place
» #02-26, Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central
» B2-17/18, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road
New Locations for Recycling
» Changi Simei CC
» Kampong Kembangan CC
» Punggol CC
» Blue Horizon
» Clementi Woods
» The Infiniti
» Varsity Park
» West Bay Condominium
» West Cove Condominium
» Nan Hua High School
» New Town Secondary School
» Zhenghua Primary School
EU revamps e-waste rules with demanding new recovery targets
Beefed up electronic equipment and devices waste directive promises five-fold increase in e-waste collections
By James Murray for The Guardian (14 August 2012):
Stringent new EU e-waste rules officially came into effect yesterday, paving the way for a fundamental overhaul of how technology companies, retailers, recycling firms, and consumers handle waste electronic equipment and devices.
The updating of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which first came into effect in 2003, will impose a series of ambitious new e-waste recovery and recycling targets on the IT and electronics industry while also introducing stringent new penalties for companies and member states who fail to comply with the rules.
The original WEEE directive represented the world’s first comprehensive e-waste legislation, placing a “producer responsibility” on manufacturers that made them legally and financially responsible for the safe collection and disposal of old equipment.
However, the directive has been widely criticised in recent years for struggling to sufficiently promote the re-use and recycling of valuable electronic resources and failing to crack down on the illegal export of old equipment to developing countries for scrap.
The updated directive, which was approved by the European Parliament last month, significantly strengthens a range of e-waste regulations and imposes new targets that will require member states to collect 45 per cent of electronic equipment sold for approved recycling or disposal from 2016, rising to 65 per cent of equipment sold or 85 per cent of electronic waste generated by 2019, depending on which goal member states choose to adopt.
In addition, from 2018, subject to an impact assessment, the directive will be extended from its “current restricted scope” to all categories of electronic waste. Many different types of electrical equipment are currently exempt from the rules after manufacturers argued they were too difficult to collect or recycle – a scenario the EU has signalled it wants to crack down on.
“In these times of economic turmoil and rising prices for raw materials, resource efficiency is where environmental benefits and innovative growth opportunities come together,” said Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik in a statement. “We now need to open new collection channels for electronic waste and improve the effectiveness of existing ones. I encourage the member states to meet these new targets before the formal deadline.”
Member states now have until February 14 2014 to transcribe the new EU directive into their national e-waste laws.
The directive will give government’s significant new powers designed to make it easier for businesses and consumers to dispose of e-waste in an environmentally responsible fashion, while also increasing penalties for firms found to be illegally exporting e-waste.
Specifically, retailers will be required to collect small items of e-waste from consumers unless alternative schemes can be shown to be more effective and as “reversed burden of proof” will be applied to equipment suspected of being illegal waste shipments, forcing exporters to prove old equipment will be re-used and then disposed of safely outside the EU.
The EU anticipates the new directive will have a huge impact on the e-waste recycling sector, delivering a five-fold increase in the amount of equipment that is collected and making it easier for firms to extract valuable materials such as gold, silver, copper and rare metals.
“The existing EU collection target is 4kg of WEEE per capita, representing about 2 million tonnes per year, out of around 10 million tonnes of WEEE generated annually in the EU,” the European Commission stated. “By 2020, it is estimated that the volume of WEEE will increase to 12 million tonnes. The final target of the new directive, an ambitious 85 per cent of all WEEE generated, will ensure that in 2020 around 10 million tonnes, or roughly 20kg per capita, will be separately collected in the EU.”