What does the law say about the recycling of electrical and electronic waste?

A European Directive obliged the Belgian government to oversee the proper processing of e-waste. The industry helped look for a solution, and the legal acceptance obligation resulted in a collection system and binding agreements.

Belgians have an excellent reputation when it comes to sorting. In Europe we’re even the absolute leaders in the sorting of packaging waste: glass, plastic, paper and cardboard …

We’re also standouts when it comes to electrical and electronic waste. For example, in 2021 we collected no less than 128,467 tonnes of it.

Fully established: the acceptance obligation

Europe was aware of the necessity of properly collecting e-waste, and so it introduced the take-back obligation. In short: retailers are obliged to accept the disused appliances that customers bring in.

Appliance list: what’s collected, what’s not?

Producers and importers responded positively to the acceptance obligation. In 2001 the industry set up a collection and processing system for disused electrical and electronic appliances.

The European legislation defined categories for which the acceptance obligation applies. Recupel uses an appliance list that is based on these categories.

Agreements for manufacturers and importers

Manufacturers and importers of electrical and electronic equipment are generally active in all three of Belgium´s regions and so it was logical to introduce a single uniform return system on the national level. 
In order to make that possible, an agreement is periodically signed per region between government and industry: the environmental policy agreements.