Slashing waste with WEEE

The Government has today launched proposals to help improve the environment and cut down on household and industrial waste.

The proposals are contained within a consultation on the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), which is due to be implemented in EU Member States by the summer of 2004.

Among the proposals is the idea of a national ‘clearing house’ – funded by manufacturers – which will provide free collection of WEEE from local waste management sites and other WEEE collection points around the UK so that it can be taken for treatment, recovery and recycling.

WEEE is designed to change the way old electrical equipment is disposed of, by recycling more, and tightening up treatment of the waste, removing any hazardous materials and stopping them entering the environment. According to the DTI, this should help conserve natural resources, and cut down on air and water pollution from the WEEE processing by more than half.

‘These proposals will bring enormous environmental benefits and will contribute towards the development of more sustainable products,’ said Energy Minister Stephen Timms. ‘The Government is committed to implementing the Directive in a proportionate way, delivering the environmental benefits without damaging UK competitiveness.

Timms added: ‘We are setting out in this consultation paper our proposals for implementing the Directive and are inviting views from businesses, local authorities and other interested parties.’

The WEEE Directive will work in parallel with the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS Directive), which will restrict the use of certain substances in electrical and electronic equipment from 1 July 2006.

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