LIFE-ECOSWEEE: Enhancing collection of small W/EEE and batteries.
Every electric or electronic product and battery not collected represents a missed opportunity. The materials in the WEEE that are not collected will not be available for manufacturing new products. New materials may have to be mined instead, which is a lot more damaging for biodiversity and the environment at large. Even after two decades of WEEE legislation the Member States are falling short of achieving the minimum European Union collection rate of 65% of products placed on the market in the three preceding years. Recognising this urgent need for improvement, the EU is committed to enhance the collection of WEEE.
The LIFE-ECOSWEEE project will introduce innovative methods and incentives to enhance the collection processes across Member States. The project will design and implement ten new pilots across eight countries. These will test in practice a variety of collection strategies and incentives including, amongst others, deposit return systems, buyback programmes, donation and postal services.
LIFE-ECOSWEEE will also explore alternative collection routes, collaboration with online retail platforms, financial aspects, and network optimisation to enhance collection efforts. The project works in tandem with eleven such ongoing/planned initiatives led by producer responsibility organisations (PROs), further enriching the knowledge base and insights.
The project will conduct rigorous analysis, measuring the impacts and effectiveness of the actions through pre-established criteria and indicators. The findings will enable the identification of areas for improvement and provide valuable recommendations to policymakers at both the Member State and EU level. They will also contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal, the consultation process on the revision of WEEE Directive and to other legislation.
LIFE-ECOSWEEE will create a community of stakeholders through an online platform to share their experience, knowledge, and views on project progress and results; and to take part in co-designing events and initiatives during the project.
Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum, the project coordinator, highlights that: “The LIFE-ECOSWEEE pilots, incentive schemes and innovative strategies will teach us how to cost-effectively collect more electricals and portable batteries, allowing us to tap into more metals and critical raw materials which we need for the triple energy, digital and green transition. We will actively engage with stakeholders and thought leaders and jointly search for best practices”.
The project is co-funded by the EU under the LIFE Programme. The LIFE-ECOSWEEE project kicked off in April 2023 and has a duration of 22 months.