European Court of Auditors’ review describes EU progress and challenges on e-waste targets

The European Court of Auditors released a review report on the European Union (EU) actions and existing challenges on electronic waste (e-waste) with a special focus on the implementation of existing e-waste treatment requirements; mismanagement of e-waste; illegal shipments and other criminal activities; and increasing e-waste collection, recycling, and reuse. The review found that the EU Member States collect and recover more discarded electrical and electronic equipment than most of the world — overall the EU currently recycles about 80% of the e-waste it collects. The report highlights some of the EU endeavors to incorporate circular-economy requirements into legislative proposals, incentivise the reduction of material usage, and promote product reparability and durability. Yet, it calls for the update of requirements to address certain electrical and electronic equipment, like mobile phones and computers, which are not covered. It also underscores the challenges to address criminal activity in e-waste management due to the economic incentives for illegal or unsound waste management and the low risk of getting caught.