The European Parliament has adopted laws requiring manufacturers to pay for the recycling of electrical goods ranging from shavers to refrigerators and laptop computers. The European Union's assembly, meeting in Strasbourg, France, voted to approve the "electroscrap" laws after more than 3 years of debate.
Under the new rules, the EU hopes 75 percent of such goods can be recycled. The law is due to come into force in September, 2005. The EU estimates old appliances account now for some 6 million tons of waste across Europe, most of which goes into landfills.
Manufacturers estimated the rules could cause them to spend U.S. $7.7 billion a year to collect and dispose of the waste. They warn the costs could be passed on to consumers, ranging from $0.50 for a small appliance such as a coffee maker to up to $20 for a refrigerator.
However, companies generally welcomed the new rules as a pragmatic solution to the environmental problems caused by electroscrap. They were pleased that each manufacturer will pay for recycling its own waste once the plan is fully operational, instead of sharing costs across the industry. "A level playing field is vital. Manufacturers should never be forced to pay for other than their own waste," said Luigi Meli, director general of the European Committee of Electric Equipment Manufacturers. (Reuters)
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