One week after the end of the participation period for the transposition of the Directive of RAEEs Amigos de la Tierra, Ecologistas en Acción, AERESS, CC OO and UGT request the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment a management that prioritizes the reduction of waste, the repair of electrical and electronic devices and the prohibition of planned obsolescence, among other measures. The current situation in e-waste management is unsustainable; the scarce collection of this type of waste through the appropriate channels and the great lack of control in its final destination make it necessary to put in place more efficient systems for its treatment. The materials with which these devices are made are mostly scarce and valuable, so the lack of repair, reuse and recycling causes a waste of natural resources. But in turn, they are very polluting, which entails very serious impacts both in the areas where the materials are extracted and in those where their waste is deposited. Spain already has networks for the repair and reuse of electrical and electronic equipment, largely managed by social enterprises, which add value to the obvious environmental improvements. Currently the network of recuperators linked to the social economy employs 1,746 people in Spain, with 47.5% of insertion jobs for people at risk or social exclusion . If more material were managed, it is estimated to reach 3,583 jobs. Throughout Europe the network of social recuperators employs 40,000 workers. Despite the proliferation of these new alternatives, institutional and legislative support is essential to ensure reuse through binding targets between manufacturers and distributors. Therefore, the aforementioned entities request that the new royal decree ensure:
Effective measures to reduce the generation of waste, such as the extension of guarantees and the prohibition of planned obsolescence, as has happened in France recently . The minimum percentage of 5% of preparation for reuse, ensuring the availability of waste with the appropriate conditions for repair and reuse in specialized centers. A guaranteed funding of readiness for reuse consistent with the Extended Producer Responsibility; A strict control by the Public Administrations of the destination of the RAEEs and their final treatment;
A boost to social enterprises for the repair, reuse and recycling of waste.
Reuse, together with manual disassembly, is the scenario with the greatest potential for generating employment, according to the study published by the Catalan Recovery Council, which estimates the direct jobs that could be generated at more than 4,700 . On the other hand, sources in the WEEE management sector indicate that more than 9,000 direct jobs could be created if the legally established treatment were carried out. A sustainable management of RAEES waste will not only benefit Spanish citizens, but also the populations of impoverished countries; A large part of the raw materials that are used come from other countries and in their extraction they cause social and environmental problems, such as water and air pollution, displacement of communities and violation of human rights. Furthermore, a large percentage of waste also ends up in non-industrialized countries, with a proliferation of uncontrolled landfills.
With the publication of the next Royal Decree, a solution should be found to all the problems mentioned, favoring reduction, reuse, repair and recycling, with the creation of employment associated with these measures.
Ecologists in Action