New calculation method for WEEE recycling rates

November 15th, 2019

The European Commission is working on a new methodology for the calculation and reporting of recycling rates for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). A draft of the Implementing Decision is currently being discussed among Member States and is set to be officially adopted by the end of the year.

The main goal of the revision is to ensure that recycling rates are more realistic and comparable among Member States. For that purpose, the new provisions specify – among other things – the definition of “calculation points”, i.e. the points where the different component materials of WEEE are considered to enter the recycling operation.

For plastics, for example, this point is defined as “plastic separated by polymers that does not undergo further processing before entering pelletisation, extrusion, or moulding operations; plastic flakes that do not undergo further processing before their use in a final product.”

Overall, the new provisions, being more specific and standardized, can also be considered as being stricter. This might make it more challenging for Member States to reach their recycling targets but, in any case, it will increase the validity and comparability of recycling rates.

Besides modifying the calculation method for WEEE recycling rates, the Implementing Decision will also lay down the format to be used by Member States when reporting data on WEEE to the Commission.

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