Recyclers call for EU directive to be scrapped

Plans are too costly and too vague to work

The recycling body ICER (Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling) has hit out at the proposed EU directive affecting PC recycling, warning it could cost vendors and retailers £500 million a year. The industry body also claims the directive, which aims to reduce environmental damage through discarded electrical and electronic goods, is too wide-ranging to be effective. An estimated 6 million tonnes of electronic waste is dumped every year, and there are believed to be around 1 million unused PCs in Britain. The directive, in its second draft, makes vendors responsible for taking back old machines when they sell new ones. Joy Boyce, ICER chairman, warned it could push up prices on all new electronic goods. Boyce, also head of corporate affairs at ICL Multivendor Computing, said the directive also failed to provide the necessary environmental improvements. She said: "It’s too wide-ranging. It would be better to concentrate on those aspects of the electrical and electronics waste-stream which have the greatest potential to do damage to the environment." Jon Godfrey, commercial director at PC recycling and remarketing company Technical Asset Management, described the directive in its current state as unworkable. He said there was also a great deal of confusion surrounding what actually constituted recycling. He admitted to being disappointed with the directive. "It’s supposed to be about the environmental impact of hazardous waste. But it seems the manufacturers had more influence than the recyclers did on the second draft of the directive." The directive also sets targets for the amount of recycled material used in new PCs at around five per cent. Godfreys - who would like to see a minimum of 15 per cent - described this as "too little too late." ®

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