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Euro-MPs tighten e-waste rules

January 19, 2012 3:47 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

TVs, mobile phones, computers and other electrical equipment are the UK's fastest growing waste stream, with more than one million tonnes generated annually. Despite already existing EU laws, only about one third of e-waste is currently disposed of in an accountable and sustainable way. The rest is either dumped in landfills or shipped - often illegally- to non-EU countries.

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, who negotiated the original EU legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), said:

"MEPs fought hard to set a higher target for the recovery, recycling and re-use of e-waste. When treated properly our old electrical equipment needs not be rubbish but a valuable raw material.

"The new rules will make clearer what used items can be legally exported. This will help to curb the criminals who ship electronic gadgets overseas where it is dismantled by children and the poor often in hazardous and toxic conditions.

"Our waste must not become anther person's poison."

According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, the UK has a persistent problem with e-waste trafficking with up to half of all discarded computers in the UK entering the illegal trade streams.