European Union to Institute New Recycling Regulations

Helsinki -- A new European Union (EU) electrical and electronic waste recycling regulation is expected to be enacted by 2004, requiring residents and businesses to recycle equipment such as cell phones, major household appliances and computers.

Once the regulation is enacted, EU residents will have to pay slightly more for their appliances but costs should not be signifiantly higher.

Recycling responsibility likely will fall on equipment-makers. Specific industries also will assume some responsibility.

For cell phones, individual member states will have to decide how to set up phone recycling systems and must ensure that people actually recycle their phones.

Cell phone manufacturers also may offer a new recycling model for their products -- phones may include parts such as clip-on covers that can be thrown into compost heaps, for instance. Also, companies such as Nokia hope to develop phones with biodegradable parts within the next few years.