Today local MEP Catherine Bearder voted for new measures to promote the recycling of millions of tonnes of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE).
Although many items, such as mobile phones, contain valuable rare metals that are in short supply, only one third of Europe's electronic waste mountain currently reaches professional recyclers.
The European Parliament has sent a strong message that public authorities, manufacturers and consumers all need to play their part to ensure we collect and recycle more of our electrical and electronic goods.
Catherine Bearder commented, "I hope by cutting red-tape for companies and setting new targets for collecting and recycling, we can encourage more people to reuse their electronic equipment and electrical waste."
"When properly recycled our old electrical equipment needs not be considered as rubbish but as a valuable raw material."
Thanks to Liberal Democrat pressure, the Parliament has also recommended tougher measures against the dumping of electronic waste in developing countries.
Catherine, who is currently pressuring the European Commission on the serious problem of Europe dumping its toxic waste on the developing world, added:
"Electronic equipment sent to developing countries to be reused often doesn't work. As many developing countries lack any electronic waste recycling or disposal systems, or awareness of the dangers posed by electronic waste, almost all of the discarded electronic waste is thrown into unmonitored dumpsites and routinely set afire - allowing deadly chemicals could enter the water and food supplies."
"From now on I want to see all items send abroad individually certified as in working order, or sent to real recycling sites that do not endanger local people."
Parliament says that Member States should collect 85% of the e-waste they produce from 2016. It also proposes a 2012 target: Member States should collect 4 kg of e-waste per inhabitant (as under existing rules) or the weight of e-waste collected in 2010, whichever is greater.
As well as yielding health and environmental benefits, proper treatment of e-waste can help reclaim valuable raw materials. MEPs recommend a 50-75% recycling target (depending on category) and support a new 5% re-use goal.
MEPs underline that standardising registration and reporting is needed to lighten the administrative burden and costs on companies. They suggest reducing the number of electrical equipment categories to further simplify matters.