Table of Contents
Journal of Waste Management
Volume 2014, Article ID 457372, 18 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/457372
Review Article

Overview of the WEEE Directive and Its Implementation in the Nordic Countries: National Realisations and Best Practices

1Centre of Northern Environmental Technology, Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Kemin Digipolis Oy, Kemi, Finland
3Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Nokia Oyj, Espoo, Finland
5Narvik University College, Narvik, Norway
6Mass and Heat Transfer Process Engineering, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

Received 27 June 2014; Accepted 29 August 2014; Published 1 October 2014

Academic Editor: David Bolzonella

Copyright © 2014 Jenni Ylä-Mella et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Electronic devices and mobile applications have become a part of everyday life. Fast technological progress and rapid product obsolescence have led to the rapid growth of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Due to hazardous substances and also substantial amounts of valuable materials contained in electrical and electronic equipment, the European Union has implemented Directives related to WEEE, in order to reduce negative environmental and health impacts and to improve material recovery of valuable substances from WEEE. This paper provides an overview of the WEEE Directive and its implementation to national legislations in Finland, Sweden, and Norway and, further, describes how the nationwide WEEE recovery infrastructures in the Nordic countries have been built. The Nordic WEEE management systems are evaluated from the point of resource efficiency and best practices. Evidently, the WEEE management systems as established in the Nordic countries have advantages because the WEEE collection rates in 2012 were 12 kg/inhab./year, in Finland, 16 kg/inhab./year, in Sweden, and 27 kg/ inhab./year, in Norway, despite their sparsely populated nature. The Swedish and Norwegian experiences, especially, with long history of WEEE recovery indicate that increasing consumer awareness leads to more environmentally sound behaviour and improves recovery efficiency.