Is your company ready for the new European e-waste law?

Summary:The United States doesn't have a federal electronic waste policy, but the one in Europe just got tougher.

If your company has any operational exposure in Europe, it should get acquainted with the European Union's updated directive for handling technology and electronics that have reached the end of their service life.

The new rules under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which went into effect in mid-August, requires EU members to collect up to 45 percent of all electronic equipment sold domestically for either recycling or disposal starting in 2016. The percentage rises to 65 percent of electronics sold or electronic waste (e-waste) generated by 2019.

"In these times of economic turmoil and rising prices for raw materials, resource efficiency is where environmental benefits and innovative growth opportunities come together," said Janez Potočnik, environment commissioner for the EU. "We now need to open new collection channels for electronic waste and improve the effectiveness of existing ones. I encourage the Member States to meet these new targets before the formal deadline."

Companies that are found to be illegally exporting electronic waste will be subject to higher fines under the updated law. In addition, the other thing you should know is that while the original scope of the WEEE directive was limited, it has now been expanded to cover all categories of electronic waste.

Each country within the EU has until Feb. 14, 2014 to account for the new regulations within their national e-waste laws.

Related stories about e-waste:

Photo: Flickr/takomabibelot

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Topics: Innovation


Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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