New EU recycling directive holds makers responsible

A new EU directive will hold manufacturers responsible for the fate of computers they sell. A refundable deposit will encourage buyers to return computers to the manufacturer. Also under discussion are measures to ensure that computers are made from less dangerous substances. Most EU countries already have laws governing recycling: In Denmark, a 1999 law made local authorities responsible for collecting and recycling computers. Germany is to issue a decree making local communities responsible for collecting electronic waste. Italy has had a law since 1997 which obliges owners to return electronic goods to suppliers or local authorities. Manufacturers and importers are held responsible for processing electronic waste, and the law expressly forbids the disposal of computers in landfills or by incineration. Sweden passed a law in 2000, obliging owners to return used computers to retailers or municipal collection centers. The cost of recycling is borne either by local communities or the manufactures. The law also forbids cutting up computers or disposing of them in landfills or by incineration. Greece passed a law last August for the alternative management of electronic waste, which will go fully into force in 2003. This law will hold manufacturers or importers responsible for collecting and managing electronic refuse.

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