Handling Management And Disposal Of Electrical And Electronic Wastes The Switzerland Experience

Each country establishes its own ordinance on the handling, disposal, and general management of electrical and electronic wastes. The Swiss government has established the Ordinance on Return, Taking Back, and Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Appliances (ORDEA), which forms the legal framework allowing the industrial and commercial sectors to establish tailored and efficient return and recycling schemes.4 Switzerland's Ordinance takes into account the regulations on cooperation between the country's Federal Council and private sectors that the Parliament has included in the revised Law relating to the Protection of the Environment. Their ORDEA came into force on July 1, 1998. Its provisions are short and primarily regulate the following:

1. Users of electrical and electronic appliances must bring worn-out appliances back to the manufacturers, importers, or dealers or to specialized disposal firms.

2. Manufacturers, importers, and dealers of electrical and electronic appliances are obliged to take back worn-out appliances.

3. Worn-out appliances must be recycled or finally disposed of in an environmentally sound way, by the most technically up-to-date means. The ORDEA also contains criteria for the environmentally sound disposal of worn-out appliances.

4. Anyone who accepts appliances for disposal in Switzerland requires a permit. Export of appliances for disposal must be authorized by the government.

Switzerland's authorities and economic sector are working closely together to implement the ORDEA. A uniform enforcement practice and substantial input from the companies are important prerequisites for success, to which their present guidelines will contribute.

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