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EU falls short of e-waste targets

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 19:29:44

A new report published by the UN and Interpol has shown that just one third of the e-waste generated throughout the nations of Europe is actually being disposed of in a sustainable way via recycling, meaning that the rest is simply being dumped or discarded.

There are national divides between the rate with which electronic items are recycled throughout the EU, with Sweden and Norway both topping the list, while countries including Spain and Romania fell significantly below targets.

Regulations state that at least 85 per cent of e-waste must be recycled so that the precious minerals contained within can be reclaimed. But some countries are recycling as little as 20 per cent of things like computers, mobile phones and other goods which are powered either by a battery or a mains connection, according to Reuters.

The UN report also considered the way in which items that are collected get treated, with some exported illegally to other parts of the world for repair, while some are sent to landfill and yet more waste ends up stolen or merely mismanaged in a way that makes it hard to track.

In some instances, items are being harvested for their most precious mineral components, with the rest then dumped without proper processing.

Each year, Europe generates almost 10 million tonnes of e-waste, of which about 1.3 million are sent outside of the continent for processing.

Report spokesperson, Ioana Botezatu, said that one of the problems at the moment is that so few nations actually hand down prosecutions or punishment of any kind for failing to live up to e-waste recycling regulations. This means that there is little incentive to play by the rules and so in many instances, things are going awry and corruption is preventing countries making any significant improvements.




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