Firms told to act now on recycling directive
Roy Rubenstein Companies need to start acting now to ensure they can comply with the electronic waste recycling directive even though its legal enforcement is several years away. “One of the best ways to prepare is to start now and learn,” said Claire Snow, director at ICER during a meeting on the subject at Sutton Borough Council. “It’s no good putting our heads in the sand.” ICER is a cross industry organisation that is seeking to influence the directive by giving feedback on the drafts. “We’re trying to achieve sensible legislation and promote electronics recycling,” said Snow. But designers currently have little awareness of environmental issues and their knowledge needs to be increased. “Eco-design is relatively advanced thinking so you cannot expect companies to get to that level without building up to it,” said Martin Charter a co-ordinator at The Centre for Sustainable Design. One of the Centre’s aims is to help designers gain this knowledge. The EC’s directive on recycling waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is expected to be implemented nationally between 2002 and 2004. It will cover the recycling of 11 categories of electrical and electronic equipment from large household appliances to telecoms and hi-fi equipment. At a recent ERA conference on the subject the high cost of compliance was highlighted. Speaking at the conference, ICL’s head of environmental affairs Joy Boyce said that it will be producers that have to face the cost, estimated to be between one and three per cent of turnover. But it will be an opportunity for producers to forge new links between themselves, their suppliers and their customers as an essential part of the recycler relationship.
For more content relating to the WEEE Directive, please visit our guide to the WEEE Directive and UK WEEE regulations