• Aikaterini Achinioti
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a waste stream that has significantly increased over the past years in European Union (EU) and it is expected that it will keep increasing with a yearly rate of at least 3-5%. WEEE is a complex type of waste which needs special treatment as it contains hazardous materials and precious metals. Acknowledging the seriousness of the issue, the EU adopted the WEEE Directive which allocates the WEEE management responsibility to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) producers. However, the following points are out of the Directive’s scope: (i) while there is a target for qualitative prevention, quantitative prevention is out of the scope; (ii) while allocating responsibility to EEE producers, no reference is made to traditional actors of waste management, such as local and regional authorities (LRAs).
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) has been the promoted policy tool for WEEE management over the past 20 years with LRAs contributing to WEEE collection. EPR has changed the way of managing WEEE, or the way of governing as the responsibility is shifted from the LRAs to the producers. However, this policy may not be able to secure that WEEE management is done in an environmentally sound manner and traditional actors should be actively involved. The purpose of this thesis is to search for roles that LRAs (as traditional actors not aiming to profit maximisation) should have in order to secure an environmentally sound WEEE management.
Firstly, in order to comprehend the rationale behind WEEE management policies and the roles that LRAs hold, I study governance theory. Secondly, in order to have a practical approach on my focal issue, I chose to study two cases which represent two different types of governance: the case of Brussels region, where EPR has fully applicability and the regional authorities have limited roles; the case of Valencia region, where the regional authority has followed a different approach on managing WEEE by initiating and being the coordinator of the Ecovitrum project.
By studying these two cases, I map out the existing roles in WEEE management and identify the ones that LRAs have and their influence on the environmental performance. However, the mapping shows that some roles are missing as the existing ones are efficient only to ensure and not secure an environmentally sound WEEE management. The latter can happen, with the active involvement of LRAs in actions related to WEEE prevention and reuse.
Publication date4 Jun 2012
Number of pages33
ID: 63565945