BERLIN Central and Eastern Europe lack a well-developed network of statewide collection points for electronics waste compared to most of Western Europe.
"If the infrastructure isn't there, it's hard to make it work by relying only on retailers to put a collection system in place," said Umberto Raiteri, head of the European Recycling Platform (ERP), a WEEE collection scheme founded by Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Braun and Electrolux.
ERP operates in nine European countries that account for 70 percent of Europe's electrical and electronic waste. Poland is the only CEE country.
But Poland's WEEE law stalled in 2007 when the government collapsed. The country of 38 million currently has no collection targets and ERP is only picking up a small amount of waste that is available from volunteer retailers.
"Everything is on hold," said Umberto Raiteri, ERP’s director.
ERP chose Poland due to the sizeable market and relatively low barriers to entry. Other CEE countries have smaller markets, recycling monopolies and red tape such as excessive paperwork required for an operating permit.