E-waste in the EU: facts and figures (infographic) | Topics

E-waste in the EU: facts and figures (infographic) | Topics

Why do we need to recycle electronic and electrical waste?

Discarded electronic and electrical equipment contains potentially harmful materials that pollute the environment and increase the risks for people involved in recycling e-waste. To counter this problem, the EU has passed legislation to prevent the use of certain chemicals, like lead.

Many rare minerals that are needed in modern technology come from countries that do not respect human rights. To avoid inadvertently supporting armed conflict and human rights abuses, MEPs have adopted rules requiring European importers of rare earth minerals to carry out background checks on their suppliers.

What is the EU doing to reduce e-waste?

In March 2020, the European Commission presented a new circular economy action plan that has as one of its priorities the reduction of electronic and electrical waste. The proposal specifically outlined immediate goals like creating the right to repair and improving reusability in general, the introduction of a common charger and establishing a rewards system to encourage recycling electronics.

USB Type-C will become the common charger for most electronic devices in the EU by the end of 2024. Laptops will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port by 28 April 2026.

In March 2023, the Commission presented a new proposal to promote repairing and reusing goods. Within the legal guarantee It would require sellers to repair products unless it is cheaper to replace them. Beyond the guarantee, it would provide the right to make repairs easier and cheaper.

The EU has adopted rules on the collection, treatment and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment in order to tackle the issue of the growing amount of electronic waste.

In February 2023, the Commission put forward a proposal for an update of the directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment to implement a ruling of the European Court of Justice concerning the scope of obligations of producers of photovoltaic panels.

Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the update in November 2023. They also agreed that by 2026 the Commission should review the directive and, if necessary, suggest further changes along with a comprehensive evaluation of its impact on society and the environment.

MEPs will vote on the agreement in early February.

Back To Top