Europe risks missing e-waste recycling targets, EU auditors warn

(EurActiv, 21 May 2021) Only two European countries are anywhere close to being on track to achieving the EU’s recycling targets for electronic waste – or e-waste – the European Court of Auditors warned on Thursday (20 May).

Bulgaria and Croatia are the only countries likely to meet the new, more ambitious targets brought in for e-waste, which covers mobile phones, laptops and household appliances, according to a review by the auditors.

Data is not yet available for 2019, the year the new targets came into force, but stats from 2017 and 2018 show that 25 of the 27 countries in the European Union are likely to miss the increased ambition on recycling.

While e-waste collection and recovery have improved over time allowing previous targets to be met, the EU has since set itself more challenging goals.

Currently, less than 40% of e-waste is recycled. This is problematic as the EU aims for a circular economy, creating pressure to recycle the plastics and metals found in electronics. For instance, one tonne of smartphones contains about 100 times more gold than one tonne of gold ore.

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EurActiv, 21 May 2021: Europe risks missing e-waste recycling targets, EU auditors warn