St Julians, Malta — At its 5th International Conference, hosted by WEEE Malta, the WEEE Forum celebrated its 15th anniversary and laid out its vision for a resource efficient and sustainable WEEE sector. Cooperation among all stakeholders will be key to reach the ambitious collection targets.
The WEEE Forum is the voice of thirty-one WEEE producer responsibility organisations in Europe and Australasia. Mandated by 31,000 liable producers of electrical appliances to collect, recycle and recover to the highest treatment standards 17 million tonnes of e-waste, the producer responsibility organisations have worked towards the development of a European economy that is more resource efficient and sustainable.
Jan Vlak, President of the WEEE Forum, commented: “The 2019 collection target of 65 percent of equipment sold, or 85 percent of WEEE generated, will be extremely challenging for almost all member states, unless we encourage cooperation among stakeholders, count all WEEE and improve law enforcement.”
Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission, was keynote speaker at the conference: “WEEE provides a prime example of why recycling efforts pay off; and it pays off for the environment, it pays off for industry, and it pays off in jobs”. He continued: “This industry is a prime example of why we need to move from waste management to resource management, and why we have to find circular solutions.”
“Producers accept they need to finance end of life costs, but they must have authority to manage and control the cost”, adds Philip Morton, Vice President of the WEEE Forum. “Legislation needs to ensure producers’ cost responsibility is clear and they have the legal right to approve collection points, collectors and recyclers of WEEE.”
“All member states of the EU need to follow the example of the Dutch, Belgians, Irish, Lithuanians and French, and make the EN 50625 standards on collection, logistics and treatment of WEEE legally binding”, points out Pascal Leroy, Secretary General, WEEE Forum.
The high-level conference in St Julians, Malta, was held in the fringe of the EU Environment Ministers informal meeting during the Maltese EU Presidency and was addressed by both EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The two-day conference gathered producer compliance schemes, recyclers, producers and other stakeholders to discuss three topical environmental issues: Digitisation & Innovation, Circular Economy & Resource Efficiency, and Extended Producer Responsibility.
For the past 15 years, the producer responsibility organisations in the WEEE Forum have been at the forefront in turning the extended producer responsibility principle into a workable and effective approach to shape WEEE policies. They have delivered on the promises of the WEEE Directive on behalf of their Members. The WEEE Forum will continue to play an important role to ascertain progress towards a circular economy and will voice both the achievements and issues of greatest concerns in the WEEE market.
Source: WEEE Forum