Throwing away your old computer just got harder in Europe

New strict laws on electronic waste are approved by the European Parliament

New rules on disposing of your old laptop, printer or mobile phone look set to come into force in the European Union. The European Parliament on Thursday voted to pass stricter laws on how the bloc deals with electronic and electrical equipment waste.

The proposed new rules could have a real impact on both consumers and companies as members of Parliament (MEPs) want consumers to be able to return small items to retailers to dispose of safely. They also say that companies can contribute to the cause by designing products in such a way that materials are easier to recycle – they voted for a 50 percent to 75 percent recycling target (depending on category) and support a new 5 percent reuse goal.

The proposal would also see the scope of the law extended to all electrical and electronic equipment, including medical devices and monitoring and control instruments.

Obsolete and broken electrical appliances and electronic gadgets are the E.U.'s fastest-growing type of waste and legislators want to see that reduced or reused. Parliament wants member states to collect 85 percent of all electronic waste produced from 2016. It also proposes a 2012 target: countries should collect 4 kilograms of electronic waste per inhabitant or the weight collected in 2010, whichever is greater.

"We can no longer afford to waste our waste. Parliament has sent a strong message that public authorities, manufacturers and consumers all need to play their part to ensure we collect and recycle more of our electrical and electronic goods," said MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz, who steered the legislation through Parliament.

Tougher measures to prevent the export of electronic waste to developing countries, where it can pose a health and environmental hazard, have also been recommended.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Electronics recyclingconsumer electronicseuropean uniongovernmentenvironment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?