IT producer association DIGITALEUROPE and the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) have launched two new logos to facilitate the segregation of flat panel TVs containing mercury back light and make it safer and easier to treat them in an environmentally-sound manner.
DIGITALEUROPE’s FAQ about the new logos notes that cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) LCDs – which contain mercury – have gradually been replaced by other technologies. CCFLs accounted for over 90% of flat panel TVs in 2003 and are expected to decline to around 5% in 2014. Around 150 million CCFL screens will continue to be disposed of by consumers for at least another decade.
A product is considered Mercury-free when the concentration values of mercury (Hg) by weight in homogeneous materials do not exceed 0.1% as defined in recast RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU.
As part of the ongoing revision of EU Ecodesign regulation EC/642/2009 for televisions, DIGITALEUROPE has proposed a complete phase out of mercury-containing back light.
According to the Commission press release, food waste in industrialised countries is as high as in developing countries: over 40% of food losses occur at retail and consumer level in industrialised countries and over 40% occurs after harvest and during processing in developing countries.
In industrialised countries like the EU member states, food is wasted along the entire food chain by farmers, food industry, retailers, caterers and consumers. The reasons are diverse and sector specific. The main causes are:
Lack of awareness, lack of shopping planning, confusion about "best before" and" use by" date labels, lack of knowledge on how to cook with leftovers (households);
Standard portion sizes, difficulty to anticipate the number of clients (catering);
Stock management inefficiencies, marketing strategies that can lead to unnecessary purchases (2 for 1, buy 1 get 1 free) (retail);
Overproduction, product & packaging damage (farmers and food manufacturing);
Inadequate storage (whole food chain); and
The Commission has set up the Working Group on Food Waste to develop good practices and look at obstacles and options for EU actions to reduce food waste without compromising food safety. Commission services are currently examining how the concept of resource efficiency can be better applied to the production and consumption of food, with a focus on avoiding food waste. The Commission plans to come forward with an initiative in this area ‘in the coming months’.
Meanwhile the UK packaging and environment research organisation INCPEN has published the results of a survey of the main food product types that are dumped or reduced-to-clear between deposit and retail checkout.
The amendment, approved by 578 votes to 17 with 5 abstentions, bans cadmium in portable batteries used in cordless power tools from 31 December 2016. This ban has already been agreed with the Council of Ministers.
The Council has yet to agree to other amendments adopted by MEPs, namely
The expiry of the exemption for button cells from the mercury limit 21 month after publication of the amendment (possibly late 2015) ‘as the Union button cell market is already experiencing a shift towards mercury-free button cells’. [Directive 2006/66/EC prohibits batteries containing over 0,0005 % of mercury by weight. However, an exemption allows button cells with a mercury content of up to 2%.]
The continued marketing of batteries not compliant with the new cadmium and mercury restriction until stocks are exhausted, if those batteries are placed on the market before the new restrictions come into effect.
The clarification of requirements regarding the removability of batteries from EEE by professionals through the addition of the following clause to Article 11: ‘Where [batteries] cannot be readily removed by the end-user, Member States shall ensure that manufacturers design appliances in such a way that waste batteries and accumulators can be readily removed by qualified professionals that are independent of the manufacturer. Appliances in which batteries and accumulators are incorporated shall be accompanied by instructions on how those batteries and accumulators can be safely removed by either the end-user or by independent qualified professionals.”
Note: The proposed amendment also adds Commission Decision 2009/603/EC on procedural requirements for [producer] registration unchanged into a new Annex IV. Commission Decision 2009/603/EC is to be repealed.
The amount of packaging sent for final disposal in EU-27 in 2011 was 18.2 million tonnes, 2.6% less than in 2010. In EU-15, packaging sent for final disposal fell by 2.7% to 14.5 million tonnes. The tonnage not recovered represented 23% of the packaging placed on the market in EU-27, 20% of the packaging placed on the market in EU-15 and 40% of the packaging placed on the market in the “new” member states (down from 44% in 2010, despite the increased tonnage placed on the market). Three of the “new” member states – Estonia, Hungary and Slovakia – reported a large increase in their recycling rates.
The overall recycling rate in EU-27 was 64%, one percentage point higher than in 2010. The recycling rate in EU-15 remained at 65%. The EU-15 rate was however slightly depressed by the introduction of a completely new calculation methodology in Denmark which resulted in the reported recycling rate there falling from 84% to 54% (and the reported glass recycling rate falling from 174% to 86%).
Material-specific recycling rates were as follows:
Paper & board
All EU-15 member states had to meet the Directive’s targets by 2011. Only two missed any of the targets:
With its new methodology, Denmark missed the 55% overall recycling target by one percentage point and the 22.5% plastics recycling target by 0.3%;
Greece (37%) was well short of the 60% glass recycling target and with 44% metals recycling also missed the EU target of 50%.
A more detailed analysis of the 2011 data will be available shortly on our website.
Commission Decision 2005/270/EC sets out the reporting formats for the member states, but it does not specify the methodology to be used for the calculations. Harmonisation of calculation methodology is one of the issues being addressed in the current review of EU waste policy, and 15 packaging recovery organisations commissioned Sismega Consultores and FFACT Management Consultants to review the methodologies being used in 9 member states and make recommendations. Their report should be available soon.
* EU-27 – all EU member states (at that time) ** EU-15 – those countries in membership before 2004
Following an amendment to the Waste Act published in May 2012
PV plant operators must finance the waste management of PV modules put on the market before 1 January 2013 through an approved compliance organisation,
Producers must finance the recycling of PV modules put on the market after 1 January 2013 (see news item).
Ministerial decree 178/2013, published on 24 June 2013, 6 days before the compliance deadline for producers and plant operators, amends WEEE Decree 352/2005 by introducing detailed financing requirements for solar panels. Notably:
The fee to be charged by a compliance organisation must be at least CZK 8.5 per kg (EUR 332 per tonne) for PV panels, independently of when they were placed on the market.
The weight of PV panels installed before 2013 must be calculated by converting the installed Watt capacity (as licensed by the energy authority) into weight, at a factor of 0.11kg/Wp. These retroactive fees are to be paid in linear annual installments from 2014 to 2019 at the latest. (For PV panels installed after 2012, the actual weight may be used to calculate the fee).
Compliance organisations may not cross subsidise other activities with the funds collected for solar panels.
Funds from solar panels placed on the market before 2013 must be kept in a separate bank account in the Czech Republic and may be invested in bonds or money market instruments issued by the Czech Republic or similar securities issued by other EU or OECD member states, or supranational institutions (ECB, IMF, World Bank). Compliance organisations must provide an overview of the account in their annual report submitted to the Ministry of Environment. Where a compliance organisation ceases operations, plant operators have the right to transfer the funds, including proceeds from investments, to another compliance organisation.
Once they have collected a volume of PV panels corresponding to at least 1/3 of the weight of PV panels placed on the market before 2013, compliance organisations shall review the financing and settle any possible surpluses with plant operators, taking into account the financing need for the remaining two thirds. This settlement may take place in January 2019 at the earliest (when the final installment of the fee for the pre-2013 panels is due). [Note: The settlement provision is an improvement over the controversial financing requirements for other WEEE in Decree 352/2005. These also created high financial reserves in WEEE organisation but do not prescribe how these funds should eventually be used.]
The PV capacity installed in the Czech Republic before 2013 is estimated at over 2,000 MW. This translates into revenues for the compliance organisations from PV plant operators of around EUR 70 million for panels placed on the market before 2013 alone.
In a letter to the Environment Minister dated 15 August, ReSolar, a compliance organisation established by the Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association alleges irregularities in the origin of Decree 178 and requests amendments. The main points of criticism are:
The Waste Act does not authorise a minimum fee to be set by ministerial decree.
The minimum fee of CZK 8.5 per kg is ‘nonsensical’ and higher than the most pessimistic estimates of the Ministry itself. A more realistic estimate is CZK 2- 4 per kg.
The conversion coefficient of 0.11 kg / Wp does not reflect reality. It is typically 0.8 kg / Wp.
Decree 178 does not limit or control the effectiveness of compliance organisations, risking uneconomically treatment processes (in which organisations may have vested interests).
Moreover, ReSolar notes that the 2019 settlement date is too early, given the 25+ year lifetime of the panels.
According to an estimate by compliance organisation Retela, by July 2013 close to 14,000 PV panel producers and plant operators were complying through the following organisations:
Asekol Solar, the sister company of the WEEE organisation with the same name: 4,750 contracts;
RETELA, also a WEEE system which partners with pan-European solar panel recycling organisation PVCycle: 4,000 contracts;
ReSolar, established to ‘keep "our" money under control’ by the Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association (CZEPHO), the main opponent of the Czech PV panel recycling legislation. It aims to attract producers and plant operators with the slogan ‘we are one of you’: 1,635 contracts; representing about 600 MW or 1/3 of the installed capacity;
PV Recovery, set up by solar energy companies, envisages charging a fee of CZK 1.7 per kg: About 300 contracts.
Further organisations approved for PV panel compliance are: Electrowin, the organisation for large appliances; OFO recycling, a WEEE system; ECOPARTNER s.r.o; and FitCraft Recyklace s.r.o.