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Document 52017DC0171

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REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the review of the scope of Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (the new WEEE Directive) and on the re-examination of the deadlines for reaching the collection targets referred to in Article 7(1) of the new WEEE Directive and on the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories of electrical and electronic equipment in Annex III to the Directive

COM/2017/0171 final
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Dates
  • Date of document: 18/04/2017
  • Date of dispatch: 18/04/2017; Forwarded to the Council
  • Date of dispatch: 18/04/2017; Forwarded to the Parliament
Miscellaneous information
  • Author: European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment
  • Form: Report
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  • Department responsible: ENV
Text

Brussels, 18.4.2017

COM(2017) 171 final

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL

on the review of the scope of Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (the new WEEE Directive)
and
on the re-examination of the deadlines for reaching the collection targets referred to in Article 7(1) of the new WEEE Directive and on the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories of electrical and electronic equipment in Annex III to the Directive


Introduction

This report fulfils the following requirements of Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment ( 1 ) (the new WEEE Directive):

1.Review the scope of the new WEEE Directive as set out in point (b) of paragraph 1 of Article 2. This includes the parameters for distinguishing between small and large equipment in Annex III (Article 2(5)).

2.Re-examine the deadlines for reaching the collection targets referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 7 and the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories in Annex III, particularly temperature exchange equipment, photovoltaic panels, small equipment, small IT and telecommunications equipment and lamps containing mercury (Article 7(6)).

The purpose of this report is to inform the European Parliament and the Council of the Commission’s action and conclusions on both issues.

1. Review of the scope of the new WEEE Directive including the parameters for distinguishing between large and small equipment

1.1.Introduction

The review of the scope of the new WEEE Directive, required under Article 2(5), was underpinned by a study on the ‘Review of the scope of Directive 2012/19/EU’ carried out for the Commission ( 2 ). The following tasks were carried out:

I.identifying changes to the scope of the new WEEE Directive as a result of the change to categories of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and assessing whether the scope of the new WEEE Directive will need to be modified as a consequence of such changes;

II.reviewing the parameters for distinguishing between small and large equipment;

III.comparing potential differences between the open scope of the new WEEE Directive and the scope of the RoHS Directive ( 3 ), and assessing whether the scope of the new WEEE Directive will need to be modified as a consequence of such differences;

IV.assessing the possible economic, social and environmental impacts of any possible change to the scope of the new WEEE Directive;

V.if appropriate, on the basis of this assessment, proposing any changes that would need to be made to the scope of the new WEEE Directive.

The review involved consultation of stakeholders and experts in targeted interviews ( 4 ) and analysis of documentation relating to the change of scope, in particular by identifying product groups that fall under the open scope of the new WEEE Directive.

The following reflects the key findings of the review.

1.2.Scope review

The study focused on three aspects of the scope of the new WEEE Directive.

The changes made to its scope (from the current 10 categories in Annex I to the new WEEE Directive, still applicable during the transitional period, to 6 new categories in Annex III. These include two ‘open’ categories, of large and small equipment).

The distinction between small and large equipment.

The differences between the open scope of the new WEEE Directive and the scope of the RoHS Directive.

1.2.1.Changes to the scope of the new WEEE Directive resulting from the change to categories of electrical and electronic equipment

Article 2(1), in conjunction with Annexes I, II, III and IV, sets out the scope of the new WEEE Directive.

According to the new Directive, during the transitional period, from 13 August 2012 to 14 August 2018, its scope is almost identical to that of Directive 2002/96/EC (the old WEEE Directive)( 5 ). The only change is the inclusion of photovoltaic panels in category 4. As this inclusion was already assessed in the impact assessment carried out before the recast of the old Directive ( 6 ), it was not analysed further as part of this assessment.

From 15 August 2018, the ‘open scope’ will apply. Electrical and electronic equipment will be put into six new categories set out in Annex III and IV to the new Directive ( 7 ). This includes two ‘open’ categories, of large and small equipment, which did not exist previously.

The study first analysed whether all equipment the new WEEE Directive currently covers remains under its scope. It concluded that the new Directive covers all categories of equipment that fall under the scope of the old Directive. It also concluded that ‘opening’ the scope is expected to eliminate problems arising from different classification of products by Member States. This in turn is expected to increase legal certainty and bring about greater harmonisation in the implementation of the new Directive.

Electrical and electronic equipment the new Directive will cover from 2018 onwards was identified as household lighting and electric two-wheel vehicles that are not type-approved. The study found that including these product categories brings additional environmental, administrative and economic benefits, with implementing costs expected to be minor.

The study also concluded that the new Directive does not introduce new exemptions. It explicitly confirms exemptions from its scope that most Member States already apply in practice. This ensures harmonisation of its implementation. This is in line with the Commission’s position ( 8 ) that equipment that falls under the scope of the old Directive should not be excluded from its scope in the future.

In conclusion, the study confirmed that there are no significant changes to the scope of the new WEEE Directive as a result of the change to categories of electrical and electronic equipment. The transition from the 10 to the 6 ‘open’ categories is expected to increase legal certainty and bring about greater harmonisation in the implementation of the new Directive.

1.2.2.Assessment of the parameters for distinguishing between small and large equipment

The study also examined whether the distinction between small and large equipment (i.e. equipment with any external dimension less or greater than 50cm) in the WEEE Directive is appropriate.

While recognising that no classification criterion is perfect, the study concluded that the threshold of an external dimension of 50cm to distinguish between small and large equipment is practicable and in line with the practical constraints of end-of-life operators. The size criterion also appears to be a key factor in the collection, waste management and end-of-life treatment of electrical and electronic equipment. Waste collection schemes and end-of-life treatment and the related infrastructure differ depending on the size of the equipment, which is an even more important factor than weight.

1.2.3.Assessment of the differences between the scope of the new WEEE Directive and that of the RoHS Directives

The main difference between both Directives is the definition of electrical and electronic equipment: a) equipment dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields for ‘any intended function (RoHS), or b) equipment dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields only for ‘a primary (basic) function (WEEE). This means that some types of equipment that currently fall under the scope of the RoHS Directive are outside the scope of the WEEE Directive (e.g. petrol lawn mowers, gas stoves with electronic ignition only).

The possibility of aligning the scope of the WEEE Directive with that of the RoHS Directive was considered using the example of combustion engine-powered garden equipment. The conclusion was that including such equipment in the scope of the WEEE Directive would bring limited environmental benefits. This is because in practice, at least 80 % of such equipment is already recycled at the end of its life. From an economic point of view, including such equipment would result in additional costs for producers (e.g. administrative costs for the registration of producers on the national register of each Member State in which they place electrical and electronic equipment on the market).

In summary, the disadvantages of including equipment that uses electricity only for a secondary function in the scope of the WEEE Directive outweigh the possible advantages. Their different objectives and different nature justify the difference between the scope of the WEEE Directive and that of the RoHS Directive. Further alignment with the scope of the RoHS Directive is therefore not justified.

1.3.Conclusion on possible legislative proposal

Taking into consideration the key findings of the study carried out for a potential review of the scope of the new WEEE Directive, no further changes to it are justified. Changes would also be disruptive at a time when Member States are still in a period of transition, adjusting to the new definitions and scope of the WEEE Directive.

2.Re-examination of the deadlines for reaching the collection targets referred to in Article 7(1) of the new WEEE Directive and on the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories of electrical and electronic equipment in Annex III to the new WEEE Directive

2.1.Introduction

To prepare this report, required under Article 7(6) of the new WEEE Directive, the Commission contracted independent consultants to review relevant statistical data, literature and technical information. It held consultations, including a workshop, with all major stakeholders (Member States, industry associations, extended producer responsibility schemes, NGOs and independent experts) ( 9 ). The following tasks were carried out:

a.describing difficulties the Member States could face in reaching the collection targets set out in Article 7(1) of the new WEEE Directive;

b.analysing the likely impact of possible changes to the deadlines for reaching the collection targets set out in Article 7(1);

c.analysing the likely impact of revising the collection target based on the amount of WEEE generated, as proposed in Article 7(7);

d.analysing the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories of electrical and electronic equipment set out in Annex III to the new WEEE Directive and if considered appropriate, of presenting proposals to do so.

The following sets out the key findings of the assessment.

2.2.Re-examination of the deadlines for reaching the collection targets

The consultation with major stakeholders and the assessment of the level of collection Member States have reported for the last few years ( 10 ) show that some Member States may find it difficult to reach the 2019 collection targets. This will be the case if the current pace of collection and collection practices are maintained. The distance from the target and the pace of progression have been taken into account to identify Member States at risk of not reaching the WEEE collection target.

A problem Member States and key stakeholders report is the high rate of collection that is unaccounted for in WEEE collection statistics. This is particularly the case when collection occurs outside the framework of extended producer responsibility compliance systems or when WEEE is not handled by authorised WEEE recyclers. Limited enforcement and monitoring capabilities in Member States exacerbates this state of affairs. The large diversified group of people involved in various WEEE management activities, limited public awareness and inadequate collection infrastructure were identified as additional obstacles to reaching the targets.

To address the difficulties some Member States have reaching the 2019 collection rate, two adjustments have been considered:

I.Postponing the 2019 deadline to give Member States more time to reach the collection target, without prejudice to existing derogations ( 11 );

II.Decreasing the collection target of 85 % of WEEE generated without changing the deadline.

Postponing the deadline would give Member States more time to put in place the infrastructure needed for WEEE collection and treatment. They could do this by increasing the number of collection points, optimising logistics between collection and treatment centres, developing capacities to treat precious materials and maximise benefits, and increase the monitoring of flows being collected. However, the impact assessment carried out in 2008 ( 12 ) for the review of the old WEEE Directive showed that it was possible to reach a collection target of 65 % of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market by 2016. It would therefore not be appropriate to extend the current deadline.

With regard to a possible revision of the 85 % collection target for WEEE generated, the collection rates reported by Member States for the last few years and the pace of progression towards reaching these targets were taken into account. The conclusion is that Member States need to tackle the problem of unreported quantities of WEEE collected informally, because this is a significant factor in reaching the target. Considering a revision of the collection target without having accurate data on unreported quantities of WEEE would therefore not be appropriate ( 13 ). Postponing the deadline or lowering the collection target would also jeopardize the achievement of the objectives of the new WEEE Directive and result in a significant loss of resources and revenue from the recycling of valuable materials. Lowering the collection target would however lower the costs of treating WEEE. This is because there would be less WEEE to be treated and it may include waste that is easier to treat and recycle. However, the total treatment costs are not expected to vary significantly because of the constant need for investment to keep up with technological development and the economies of scale that could compensate for these costs.

The analysis therefore concluded that revising the collection target downwards or extending the deadline would result in a significant loss of economic and environmental benefits. While the 2019 collection target is ambitious, it is feasible if Member States do more to gradually tackle the problems identified, especially the unreported quantities of WEEE collected through all routes and the lack of effective enforcement and monitoring capabilities. The progress made by some Member States that have already achieved high collection rates is a testament to this. National measures to put in place activities related to WEEE management throughout the process, such as compulsory reporting, as required under Article 16 of the WEEE Directive, and regular checks by the national authorities, are crucial for reaching the target.

The Commission will give the Member States support and guidance in addressing the issues behind the difficulties they have reaching the targets. This will be part of a targeted initiative to encourage Member States to comply with the WEEE Directive, launched in parallel to this report and focusing on the key requirements of the new Directive.

On the basis of the assessment carried out, the Commission concludes that there is no justification for revising the deadlines for reaching the current collection target in the WEEE Directive, or for revising the collection target based on the amount of WEEE generated. At this time, revising the new WEEE Directive in such a way would also give rise to a significant administrative burden, when the focus should be on implementing the new Directive.

2.3.Examination of the possibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more categories of electrical and electronic equipment

In assessing the impacts and the feasibility of setting individual collection targets for one or more of the six categories of electrical and electronic equipment set out in Annex III to the new WEEE Directive, two scenarios were considered. The baseline scenario, reflecting the provisions of the new Directive, involved setting a general collection target of 85 % of the weight of WEEE generated, applicable from 2019, with no individual collection targets for each category of electrical and electronic equipment. It is assumed that the generic collection target of 85 % will be reached mostly by increasing the collection of heavy and easily accessible WEEE that has a positive economic value and is less expensive (or more profitable) to treat. The second scenario looked at individual collection targets of 85 % of the weight of WEEE generated in each category of electrical and electronic equipment.

The analysis carried out aimed to identify the economic, environmental and social impacts of the different amounts of WEEE collected in each category in these two scenarios. It showed that while setting individual collection targets may bring some economic, environmental and social benefits, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the feasibility of setting such targets at EU level. Conditions vary across Member States. In some cases the distance from a collection target of 85 % of WEEE generated in each category is significant. There would also be additional obligations for stakeholders and Member States (e.g. reporting, monitoring) and a significant increase in administrative burden. Changing the existing target at this point in time may well be counterproductive and cause confusion.

Taking into consideration the key findings of the assessment, the Commission concludes that it is not appropriate to set individual collection targets in the WEEE Directive at this stage.

(1)

 Official Journal L 197, 24.7.2012, p. 38.

(2)

 Final report available on the Commission’s webpage: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/events_weee_en.htm .

(3)

 Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (Official Journal L 174, 1.7.2011, p. 88).

(4)

 For example, interviews with experts from Member States (e.g. ADEME-French Agency for the Environment and the French Ministry of the Environment), experts from the Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes Association (i.e. the WEEE Forum), experts from the European WEEE Registers Network, and stakeholders specialised in the product groups the study focused on (in particular household lighting, garden equipment and electric bicycles).

(5)

 The old WEEE Directive applied to the following categories of electrical and electronic equipment: 1) large household appliances, 2) small household appliances, 3) IT and telecommunications equipment, 4) consumer equipment, 5) lighting equipment, 6) electrical and electronic tools (except large-scale stationary industrial tools), 7) toys, leisure and sports equipment, 8) medical devices (except all implanted and infected products), 9) monitoring and control instruments, 10) automatic dispensers.

(6)

 Study on Photovoltaic Panels: Supplementing the Impact Assessment for a recast of the WEEE Directive (2011). The final report is publicly available: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/pdf/Study%20on%20PVs%20Bio%20final.pdf .

(7)

These categories are the following: 1) temperature exchange equipment; 2) screens, monitors and equipment containing screens with a surface greater than 100cm2; 3) lamps; 4) large equipment (any external dimension greater than 50cm); 5) small equipment (no external dimension greater than 50cm); 6) small IT and telecommunications equipment (no external dimension greater than 50cm).

(8)

 COM(2011) 478 final (11.8.2011).

(9)

 ‘Study on collection rates of WEEE’:  http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/events_weee_en.htm .

(10)

  http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/waste/key-waste-streams/weee .

(11)

According to Article 7(3), by way of derogation, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia may, because they lack the necessary infrastructure and have a low level of consumption of electrical and electronic equipment, decide to:

(a)reach, from 14 August 2016, a collection target lower than 45 %, but higher than 40 %, of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market in the three preceding years; and

(b)postpone reaching the 2019 collection target until a date of their choice, no later than 14 August 2021.

The Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have made use of this derogation.

(12)

Impact assessment on the proposed Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (Dec 2008) (SEC(2008) 2933)

(13)

According to Article 16(4), Member States shall collect information on the quantities and categories of electrical and electronic equipment placed on their markets and collected through all routes. This gets Member States to collect information on WEEE collected using all methods.

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