Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

This Directive, aimed at the prevention of waste from electrical and electronic equipment, is also aimed at minimising the environmental impact of the treatment and disposal of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment. The EU hopes to harmonise national measures concerning this equipment in order to ensure the functioning of the internal market and avoid trade obstacles and distortion of competition within the Community.

Amongst other things, the directive will prohibit the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and halogens by 1 January 2004.

The directive has not been universally well-received, with concerns voiced over diminished fire safety and the US Ambassador to the EU even warning that it could spark off a trade war.

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