Firms to pay for EU electronic waste clean-up
BRUSSELS - A new law to make companies meet the cost of recycling their own electronic goods from refrigerators to hairdryers has won approval from EU parliamentarians and governments, officials said.
Late-night haggling on Thursday between EU states and lawmakers led to final agreement on the bill, due to come into effect in 2006.
\"The consumer will be able to return equipment at the end of its life free of charge and send it for environmentally sound treatment, re-use and recycling,\" said Margot Wallstrom, European Commissioner for the environment.
Wallstrom said making firms pay for recycling at the end of a product\'s life would be an important incentive to producers to take environmental concerns into account when designing goods.
The law says a financial guarantee must be added to the price of items to make sure funds are available for recycling.
A Commission spokeswoman said the funds from the guarantee could be put into a blocked account or an insurance fund for future use. Each member state has the right to decide exactly how the law will be put into effect.
The Commission said the new system is expected to lead to price rises in goods of between one and three percent, depending on the size of the article. Firms will have to fund centres to process the waste.
The new law will mean that each EU state must make sure electronic goods are not thrown out with normal rubbish and sent off to landfills, but be collected and processed separately.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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