About IPR

 

 

 

Q1: What is Individual Producer Responsibility?
Q2: How does the WEEE Directive include IPR?
Q3. Is the WEEE Directive intended to promote design for recycling?
Q4 Article 8 does not mention an economic incentive or reward ?
Q5 Don’t manufacturers have an incentive to design appliances for easier recycling with a collective producer responsibility?
Q6. The WEEE Directive states that producers can choose between individual or collective recycling systems. Does that mean that they can choose between individual and collective producer responsibility?
Q7. What is the difference between Producer Responsibility (individual and collective) on the one hand and Recycling Systems (individual and collective) on the other hand?
Q8. Who will take care (finance the recycling) of the waste in case a producer goes out of business?
Q9. Why are financial guarantees relevant to Individual Producer Responsibility?
Q10. How did you identify which MS have or have not transposed Art. 8.2. correctly (in such a way as to drive design for recycling)?
Q11. What are the problems with the current transposition of the WEEE Directive that will hamper design for recycling?
Q12. What are the consequences on the drivers of design for recycling of the poor transposition of the WEEE Directive?
Q13. What needs to be done to include the incentives for design for recycling?
Q14. Why not refer incentives for design for recycling to the Ecodesign for Energy-Using Products Directive?
Q 15. What is the role of accreditation of recycling systems or schemes?
Q 16. Concerning the establishment and operation of recycling systems, what elements will ensure that individual producer responsibility (IPR) is feasible, reducing practical barriers to its implementation? 
 

 

Q1: What is Individual Producer Responsibility? 

A1: “Individual producer responsibility encourages competition between companies on how to manage the end-of-life phase of their products. This in turn drives innovation, such as in business models, take-back logistics and design changes, to reduce the environmental impact of products at the end of their life.”

(Joint Statement by a group of Industry and NGOs on Producer Responsibility for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, March 2007[i])

 

Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) is a policy tool that provides incentives to producers for taking responsibility of the entire lifecycle of his/her own products, including end of life.  Article 8.2 of the European WEEE (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive establishes individual producer responsibility for the recycling of products put on the market after 13 August 2005.  Making each producer responsible for financing the end-of-life costs of their own-branded products enables end-of-life costs to be fed back to the individual producer. By modifications to the product design, the producer can directly influence the end of life cost.  Without Individual Producer Responsibility these incentives for design improvements are lost.

 

OECD) defines EPR (extended producer responsibility) as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. An EPR policy is characterised by:

1.       the shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities; and

2.       the provision of incentives to producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products.

 

While other policy instruments tend to target a single point in the chain, EPR seeks to integrate signals related to the environmental characteristics of products and production processes throughout the product chain.

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Q2: How does the WEEE Directive include IPR?

A2.  Recital 20 and Article 8 of the WEEE Directive clearly communicate the individual producer responsibility concept, though not using these words specifically. The Box at the end of this document gives the full text of these two elements of the Directive.

Article 8 of the WEEE Directive distinguishes between ‘future’ and ‘historic’ WEEE.  The Directive states that producers should be collectively responsible for financing historic WEEE, that is products put on the market before 13th August 2005.  This is because it is not possible for producers to influence the design of products that have already been produced.  For ‘future’ WEEE, design changes can make products easier to disassemble, more recyclable and less harmful to the environment.  Therefore the WEEE Directive states that for future products producers should be responsible for financing the recycling of their own-branded products. 

Therefore Article 8.2 of the WEEE Directive establishes an Individual Producer Responsibility for ‘future’ WEEE, obliging producers to finance the costs of recycling their own products.  Making each producer responsible for financing the end-of-life costs of their own-branded products enables end-of-life costs to be fed back to the individual producer. By modifications to the product design, the producer can directly influence the end of life cost.

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Q3. Is the WEEE Directive intended to promote design for recycling?

A4. Yes this is one of the main objectives of introducing the Directive. Article 8.2 establishes individual producer responsibility for the recycling of products put on the market after 13 August 2005. The full text of Article 8 of the Directive is available in the Box at the end of this document. The principle of individual producer responsibility is recognised as an important tool in encouraging producers to have regard to the end-of-life management of their products at the stage of product design. Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) provides a competitive incentive for producers to design their products so that they are easier, and therefore cheaper, to recycle.  The European Commission’s Explanatory Memorandum (2000) states:

 Producers should take the responsibility for certain phases of the waste management of their products. This financial or physical responsibility creates an economic incentive for producers to adapt the design of their products to the prerequisites of sound waste management. (p6)

Producers of electrical and electronic equipment design the product, determine its specifications and select its materials. Only producers can develop approaches to the design and manufacture of their products to ensure the longest possible product life and, in the event that it is scrapped, the best methods of recovery and disposal. (p11)

Without Individual Producer Responsibility these incentives for design improvements are lost.  Producers are not rewarded for making their producers easier to recycle as the end of life costs are related to market share of sales rather than the costs of end of life management of producer’s products.

Individual producer responsibility also encourages competition between companies over how to manage the end-of-life phase of their products. This in turn drives innovation, including in product design and take-back logistics, as companies work to reduce the environmental impact of their products at the end of their life.
 

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Q4 Article 8 does not mention an economic incentive or reward?

A 4 This is not specifically mentioned in article 8, but it is the consequence and objective of the individual responsibility as formulated in article 8.2. See the questions above !

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Q5 Don’t manufacturers have an incentive to design appliances for easier recycling with a collective producer responsibility?

A5.  No. In fact the opposite may be the case. With collective producer responsibility there is no differentiation of the recycling costs according to how easy the product is to recycle.  The costs are based upon the market share of the producer. Therefore the costs of recycling will be the same for a product that has been designed to be easier to recycle, and a product that is much more difficult to disassemble and recycle.
If recycling costs are financed collectively (e.g. according to market share), manufacturers are more likely to focus only on, and minimise, the production costs. If recycling costs are increased due to a particular design modification, this would not be of financial concern to one producer, as the increased costs of recycling would be absorbed jointly by all producers.

Therefore collective responsibility  - where all producers are jointly responsible for the recycling of all products, including the products sold in the future - does not provide an incentive to a producer to design products to be easier to recycle.

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Q6. The WEEE Directive states that producers can choose between individual or collective recycling systems. Does that mean that they can choose between individual and collective producer responsibility?

A6. No it does not. The Directive states that the producer can fulfil its obligation by participating in a collective or an individual recycling scheme. This is the operational part, not the legal obligation. In relation to products placed on the market after 13 August 2005, the WEEE Directive states that producers are responsible for financing the management of waste from “his own products”. 

Therefore the WEEE Directive requires that for products placed on the market after 13 August 2005, producers are financially responsible for their own products, rather than collectively financing these costs.  However producers have a choice between establishing individual pr collective collection systems.

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Q7.  What is the difference between Producer Responsibility (individual and collective) on the one hand and Recycling Systems (individual and collective) on the other hand?

There is a common misunderstanding that IPR implies that each producer needs to have a separate infrastructure for the collection and treatment of their own brand WEEE. This is not the case. Producers should be individually responsible for the recycling of the products produced in the future and have a possibility to work together to manage WEEE in collective or individual recycling systems.

Individual and Collective Producer Responsibility
 
For products put on the market after 13 August 2005, each producer shall be responsible for financing the operations referred to in paragraph 1 relating to the waste from his own products. The producer can choose to fulfil this obligation either individually or by joining a collective scheme.

The responsibility for the financing of the costs of the management of WEEE from products put on the market before the date referred to in paragraph 1 (historical waste) shall be provided by one or more systems to which all producers, existing on the market when the respective costs occur, contribute proportionately, e.g. in proportion to their respective share of the market by type of equipment.
 

Individual and Collective Recycling Systems
 
An “individual recycling system” is a recycling system managed by only one producer. An “individual recycling system” is not equal to “individual producer responsibility”.

A “collective recycling system” is a recycling system organised by several producers working together to manage WEEE. A “collective recycling system” is not equal to “collective producer responsibility”.
 

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Q8. Who will take care (finance the recycling) of the waste in case a producer goes out of business?

A8.  Article 8.2 of the WEEE Directive requires producers to establish a financial guarantee to cover the future recycling costs of products it places on the market. This ensures that if a producer disappears from the market, for example if it goes out of business, other actors are not required to finance the recycling of these products.  The objective of the guarantee is explained in Recital 20 found in the Box at the end of this document.

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Q9. Why are financial guarantees relevant to Individual Producer Responsibility?

A9.  The specific type of guarantee needed will depend on the specific details of each recycling operation once implemented. To be effective, a financial guarantee must ensure that the costs of collection and treatment of a producer's products in WEEE neither falls on producers that did not produce them nor the public. In addition financial guarantees should not be set up in a way that prevents producers from establishing take-back and recycling processes in which they are financially responsible for their own products in future waste.

Some Member States have transposed the requirement for a financial guarantee so that membership in a collectively organised compliance scheme provides sufficient guarantee.  This is not necessarily an appropriate guarantee. This depends on whether the guarantee is sufficient to prevent the cost of WEEE falling on other companies or society, if some of the producers leave the scheme.

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 Q10. How did you identify which MS have or have not transposed Art. 8.2. correctly (in such a way as to drive design for recycling)?

A10.  We studied the national Member State legal texts transposing the WEEE Directive to determine whether countries have established that “each producer is (financially) responsible for the recycling of the products he put on the market after 13 August 2005”.

We did not examine how the requirement for a financial guarantee has been transposed in the national legal text, since guarantees are a consequence of producer responsibility, not the other way around.

The table below is an assessment of WEEE financing in national legislation.

 
Country
Inclusion of individual financing of future WEEE [1]
Reference to national text
Assessment
 
Belgium (Flanders) [i]
3.5.1A. (1)
Belgium (Brussels) [ii]
35(1)
Cyprus [iii]
8 (2)
Czech Republic [iv]
37n(1)
Estonia [v]
26(1),(4) & 262(4)
Ireland [vi]
16 (1) (a)
Italy [vii]
 11 (1)
Lithuania [viii]
346 1(2)
Luxembourg [ix]
9(2)
Malta [x]
9. (1) (b)
Netherlands [xi]
5. Section 11 (1.)
Romania [xii]
8(2)
Slovakia [xiii]
54e(1)
Sweden [xiv]
12
Austria [xv]
7(3)
Germany [xvi]
14(5) 1. or 2.
Hungary [xvii]
15(1)(a)
Poland [xviii]
28 (1)(1) & 62
Belgium (Walloon) [xix]
N/A
X
Bulgaria [xx]
Denmark [xxi]
Finland [xxii]
France [xxiii]
Greece [xxiv]
Latvia [xxv]
Portugal [xxvi]
Slovenia [xxvii]
Spain [xxviii]

 

Key                 
√    - as in WEEE Article 8.2
≠    - includes some differences from Article 8.2 
X    - not specified in national legislation  

 

Country
Differences with national transposition of Article 8.2
 
Austria
Producers with individual guarantees must sort products by brand during collection (Article 7 [3] 1)
Germany
Producers may choose individual or collective historic financing for future waste   (Article 14 [5])
Hungary
Mentions manufacturers bear responsibility for products manufactured “by him” but only defines responsibilities for historic waste (Article 15 [1] [a]).
Poland
Makes collective schemes responsible for future waste rather than producers (once producers are members of a collective scheme) (Article 62).

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Q11. What are the problems with the current transposition of the WEEE Directive that will hamper design for recycling?

A11.  Analysis has shown that 12 Member States (Belgium [Flanders and Brussels regions], Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy [pending operational decree to be published], Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, and the Netherlands) have incorporated into law provisions corresponding to Article 8.2 of the WEEE Directive. Such provisions enable the main objective of the Directive, i.e. to improve product design such as to enhance recycling.

Another 11 Member States (Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, UK) have omitted this requirement of Article 8.2. Instead, the legislation in these countries makes producers jointly responsible for the recycling of future products, making it impossible to implement individual producer responsibility.

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Q12. What are the consequences on the drivers of design for recycling of the poor transposition of the WEEE Directive?

A12.  The incentive to encourage producers to improve design is not provided within these national laws. This jeopardises meeting the Directive’s objectives, which means that companies will not be financially rewarded for making products easier to recycle. These differences in national transposition cause different legal and financial exposures for the actors on the EU market.

Individual producer responsibility encourages competition between companies over how to manage the end-of-life phase of their products. This in turn drives innovation, such as in business models, take-back logistics and design changes, to reduce the environmental impact of products at the end of their life.

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Q13. What needs to be done to include the incentives for design for recycling?

A13.  The EC Treaty obliges each Member State to implement the WEEE Directive in such a way as to give full effect, in legislation and in practice, to the wording, object and purpose of the WEEE Directive and not to put in place any measure that would jeopardise the attainment of the Directive's objectives.

It is therefore crucial that the EU institutions and the Member States ensure that individual producer responsibility of article 8.2, is correctly transposed and implemented in national legislation.

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Q14. Why not refer incentives for design for recycling to the Ecodesign for Energy-Using Products Directive?

A14.  The Ecodesign for Energy-Using Products Directive (EuP) is organised in such a way that it sets technical requirements on certain aspects  for  some specific products,  while the WEEE directive, by establishing producer responsibly for recycling, the WEEE Directive  provides an incentive for producers to improve the design of their products and thereby decrease the impact of their products at the end of life.  EuP and WEEE are thereby different mechanisms that complement each other, rather than exist in conflict.

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Q15. What is the role of accreditation of recycling systems or schemes?

A 15. The role of accreditation should be to check that recycling systems meet a series of verifiable criteria that ensure they respect the intentions of the WEEE Directive. The most important of these are:

1) the recycling system must ensure that there are no de facto or contractual barriers to the implementation of IPR, in particular contracts between producers and recycling systems should respect the five key elements (as defined below) concerning the implementation of IPR.

2) the system must assume its fair share of the burden of meeting the overall WEEE obligation as determined by collection and recycling targets, or must compensate for any shortfall through the transfer of WEEE or funds. 

3) the recycling and preparation activities undertaken by the system must meet the required environmental standards. 

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Q 16. Concerning the establishment and operation of recycling systems, what elements will ensure that individual producer responsibility (IPR) is feasible, reducing practical barriers to its implementation?

A 16. The key elements that are necessary to ensure that individual producer responsibility (IPR) is feasible in a recycling system are:

a) For WEEE placed on the market after 13 August 2005, producers should be responsible for financing the recycling of their own products

b) Provision of appropriate guarantees for the financing of the management of WEEE by each individual producer. The guarantee needs to:

1) be robust and guaranteed for the long-term, i.e. will be available when the product comes back and is on a sufficient level to secure future recycling costs. The guarantee must be sufficient to cover the total future recycling obligation of each producer.

2) be able to reflect a differentiated cost per brand, i.e. differences between products such as design, durability or other qualities that influence the recycling costs

3) allow for flexibility for mobility, i.e. allow for a producer to change recycling system or compliance solution at any time without ‘losing’ the guarantees built up so far and without being forced to rebuild guarantees for products put on the market before the change of compliance systems.

4) give producers the freedom to choose whether they provide a guarantee individually or contribute to the guarantee organised by a collective system.

c) Improved product design in respect of end-of-life environmental impacts should be incentivised and rewarded.

d) Procedures that assign financial responsibility to producers according to the treatment and recycling costs of their own returned products. There are a variety of ways in which recycling systems can implement IPR in order to achieve this. Recycling systems should have the flexibility to select from the following approaches:

i) Producers Credited for Individual Collection: Producers are able to establish their own systems for WEEE collection and recycling and discount this against their obligations set by the collective recycling system. This is a preliminary step towards a fuller implementation of IPR but does not in itself constitute IPR.

ii) Return Share System based on Sampling: Under this system financing for waste is based on the proportion of the producer’s products in the waste returned, calculated by sampling the waste stream. Random sampling of the collection containers enables the proportion of each brand manufacturers waste in each type of WEEE waste stream to be calculated. The return share system would therefore be a truer representation of a producer’s waste responsibility, compared to financing based on the market shares of the present sales.

iii) Return Share System based on Product Identification: Under this system financing for waste is based on the proportion of the producer’s products in the waste returned, calculated by a full brand count. This can be achieved by a physical brand count or through systems based upon bar codes or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.

iv) IPR based on Brand Responsibility: Producers are only responsible for their own brands within the waste stream. This can be achieved in two ways. First individual brands can be segregated from the waste stream using physical segregation or detection technology such as RFID. Alternatively, producers can develop individual recycling systems and collect their own products directly from end users. For example the PC Recycling system in Japan utilises the postal system to enable producers branded products to be sent directly to producers own recycling plants.

e) A transparent and fair mechanism for allocating common costs between all producers, for example any costs associated with implementing individual producer responsibility such as return-share sampling or design-related cost
differentiation are shared by all participants in that system.

1 Note, we are using the term ‘recycling system’ to mean either an individual recycling system
(e.g. one recycling plant and its collection circuit) or a compliance scheme that covers several
recycling systems (e.g. NVMP or El Kretsen) 

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[i] Belgium (Flanders): VLAREA – Consolidated Version (updated to 14 July 2004)

[ii] Belgium (Brussels): 18 JULY 2002.- Order of the Brussels Regional Government introducing a take-back obligation for some waste materials for the purpose of the useful application or elimination thereof

[iii] Cyprus: EU Par III(I)O. 3888 30.7.2004, KDP 668/2004, Number 668: The Hazardous Waste (Solid Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations 2004, issued by the Council of Ministers under the provisions of article 5 of the Hazardous Waste (Solids) Act 2002, after submission to and approval by the House of Representatives, have been published in the Cyprus Government Gazette in accordance with article 3 (3) of the Approval of Parliament (Regulations) Act, statute 99 / 1989 as varied by statute 227 / 1990.

[iv] Czech Republic: 106 THE PRIME MINISTER promulgates full wording of Act No. 185/2001 Coll., on waste and amending some other laws, as follows from amendments introduced by Act No. 477/2001 Coll., Act No. 76/2002 Coll., Act No. 275/2002 Coll., Act No. 320/2002 Coll., Act No. 167/2004 Coll., Act No. 188/2002 Coll., Act No. 317/2004 Coll. and Act No. 7/2005 Coll. ACT on waste

[v] Estonia:  Waste Act: Passed 28 January 2004 (RT1 I 2004, 9, 52), entered into force 1 May 2004. Amended by the following Acts:

08.02.2007 entered into force 12.02.2007 – RT I 2007, 19, 94;
31.05.2006 entered into force 30.06.2006 – RT I 2006, 28, 209;
16.06.2005 entered into force 10.07.2005 – RT I 2005, 37, 288;
22.02.2005 entered into force 03.04.2005 - RT I 2005, 15, 87;
14.04.2004 entered into force 01.05.2004 - RT I 2004, 30, 208.

Requirements and Procedure for Marking Electrical and Electronic Equipment, Requirements, Procedure and Targets for Collection, Return to Producers and Recovery or Disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, and Time Limits for Reaching Targets1: Regulation No. 376 of the Government of the Republic of 24 December 2004 (RT2 I 2004, 91, 628), entered into force 1 January 2005

[vi] Ireland: S.I. No. 340 of 2005 WASTE MANAGEMENT (WASTE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT) REGULATIONS 2005

[vii] Italy: Legislative Decree 25th July, 2005 – no. 151, Implementation of the Directives 2002/95/CE, 2002/96/CE and 2003/108/CE concerning the reduction of the use of hazardous substances in the electrical and electronic equipments as well as the disposal of wastes.

[viii] Lithuania: Extract from the Law on Waste Management of the Republic of Lithuania
CHAPTER VIII(1) RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PRODUCERS, IMPORTERS AND DISTRIBUTORS

[ix] Luxembourg: A – No. 13, 31 January 2005, WASTE FROM ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT, Grand Duchy regulation of 18th January 2005 on waste from items of electrical and electronic equipment and the restrictions on the use of certain of their hazardous components. Page 214.

[x] Malta: ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT(CAP. 435) Waste Management (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Regulations, 2004

[xi] Netherlands: WEEE management decree, DECREE OF july 6, 2004, establishing rules for the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment and for the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Management Decree)

[xii] Romania: GOVERNMENT DECISION no. 448/19.05.2005 (OJ no 491/10.06.2005) on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

[xiii] Slovakia: 733 ACT from December 2, 2004, by which the Act No. 223/2001 of Coll. On Waste and On Amendment of Certain Acts as amended by subsequent provisions and On Amendement of Certain Acts is amended

[xiv] Sweden: Swedish Code of Statutes 2005:09, Ordinance on producer responsibility for electrical and electronic products issued on 14 April 2005.

[xv]  Austria: Ordinance of the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management on Waste Prevention, Collection and Treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Ordinance), BGBl. (Federal Law Gazette) II No. 121/2005

[xvi] Germany: Act Governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act, or ElektroG) 1 of 16. March 2005

[xvii] Hungary: 264./2004 (IX.23.) governmental decree on taking back wastes of electric and electronic equipment

[xviii] Poland: Text of the Act concluded following the Amendments of the Senate Act of 29 July 2005 on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

[xix]Belgium: 10 MARCH 2005. - Order of the Walloon government modifying the Order of the Walloon government of 25 April 2002 instigating an obligation of recovery of certain waste items with a view to their enhancement of value or management.

[xx] Bulgaria: DECREE No. 82 dated 10 April 2006, on the adoption of Regulation on the requirements to putting on the market of electrical and electronic equipment and treatment and transport of waste from electrical and electronic equipment

[xxi] Denmark: Statuatory order on management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (the WEEE Order) No. 664 of 27 June 2005

[xxii] Finland: Government Decree on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (852/2004)

[xxiii] France: Decree n° 2005-829 of 20 July 2005 relating to the composition of electrical and electronic equipment and to the elimination of waste from this equipment (Official journal of the French republic - 22 july 2005) NOR: DEVX0400269D

[xxiv] Greece: 5 March 2004, PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No 117, Measures, terms and programme for the alternative management of waste electrical and electronic equipment in compliance with the provisions of the Council Directive 2002/95 “on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment” and Council Directive 2002/96 “on waste electrical and electronic equipment” of 27 January 2003”.

[xxv] Latvia: The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia, Regulation No.736, Riga, 24 August 2004 (prot. No.50 29.§) Requirements for Labelling Electric and Electronic Equipment and Providing the Information Issued in accordance with Article 207 , Section two, Paragraph 1 and 4 of the Waste Management Law

[xxvi] Portugal: Decree Law no. 230/2004, December 10

[xxvii] Slovenia: Pursuant to the second paragraph of Article 19 and the third paragraph of Article 20 of the Environmental Protection Act (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia no. 41/04) the Minister for the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy in agreement with the Minister for Economy issues the following DIRECTIVE on the management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

[xxviii] Spain: ROYAL DECREE 208/2005, of 25 February, on electrical and electronic equipment and the management of the waste thereof.

[xxix] UK: 2006 No. 3289 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006: 12 December 2006

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