EU e-waste targets difficult to achieve


Collectively, EU Member States collect and recover more discarded electrical and electronic
equipment than most of the world. But the EU risks missing its more ambitious e-waste collection
targets. A review by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) points out a number of challenges, for
instance the need to ensure and check compliance with the existing rules, and with the problem
of breaches and criminal activities, such as illegal shipments to countries outside the EU.

E-waste – discarded electrical and electronic tools, household appliances and even large equipment
such as photovoltaic panels – is harmful to the environment if it is not treated properly. E-waste also
often contains recyclable materials such as metals and plastics. It can therefore contribute to the
circular economy. For instance, 1 tonne of smartphones contains about 100 times more gold than 1
tonne of gold ore.

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