Apple mulls EU recycling liabilities

How contingent? How substantial?

Apple Computer could face 'substantial' recycling liability costs, following the introduction of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive-enacting legislation in EU member countries.

In its most recent 10-Q SEC filing, covering the quarter ended June 29, 2002, the company notes:

The parliament of the European Union is working on finalizing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (the Directive). The Directive makes manufacturers of electrical goods, including personal computers, financially responsible for the collection, recycling, and safe disposal of past and future products. The Directive must now be approved and implemented by individual European Union governments by 2005. The Company's potential liability resulting from the Directive related to past sales of its products and expenses associated with future sales of its product may be substantial. However, because it is likely that specific laws, regulations, and enforcement policies will vary significantly between individual European member states, it is not currently possible to estimate the Company's existing liability or future expenses resulting from the Directive. As the European Union and its individual member states clarify specific requirements and policies with respect to the Directive, the Company will continue to assess its potential financial impact.

And if the costs are "substantial" in the EU, just think how expensive it will get when the US states enforce tougher recycling legislation.

(Our acknowledgement to the eagle eyes of MacWorld, who spotted this nugget.)

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