About two weeks ago, we reported on the EU's implementing new rules and regulations concerning the management of electronic waste.
Back then, we argued that stricter policies for recycling discarded household appliances are needed in order to collect at least some of the rare metals they contain, and thus help push for resource efficiency.
However, a team of researchers working with the University of Salamanca recently found that, as far as Spain is concerned, roughly 75% of the electronic waste that needs to enter official recycling programs is in fact dealt with by unauthorized systems.
Apparently, this situation stems from the fact that quite few of the companies presently manufacturing appliances in Spain are registered under national waste management systems, which means that they can neither be properly controlled by authorities, nor held responsible for the e-waste they dispose of in an unsuitable manner.
As reported by the Alpha Galileo Foundation
, Dolores Queiruga, presently working with the Business and Economics Department of the University of La Rioja, commented on the findings of this study as follows:
“The problem is that many manufacturers are not included in the official register of the Ministry of Industry that manages electronic waste (WIE-WEEE), thus making control difficult.”
Furthermore, “It is estimated that only 1000 out of 10 000 manufacturers are registered in Spain. This implies a payment evasion of at least €15 million.”
According to the same source, this recent report on e-waste management policies in Spain hints towards a very interesting issue, which needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
Thus, the manufacturers who agreed to sign up for recycling programs and stick to them are presently worse off from a financial standpoint, at least when compared to those who do not own up to the responsibility of making sure the products they sell get recycled.
As Dolores Queiruga puts it, “With the first drafts of the European Directive, manufacturers realized they had to take responsibility for the waste generated by their products and all those involved began to think about the best way to go about waste management."