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Waste laws, such as the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive (WEEE) are being poorly implemented and enforced in many European states, according to the EU Commission.

Two reports adopted by the commission suggested that major changes must be made in order to make sure that waste management meets the required standards.

Stavros Dimas, the EUs environment commissioner, said: “We need to manage our waste properly so that we preserve our resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the health of citizens.

“The commission will step up its efforts to assist Member States in better implementation.”

The adopted reports show that targets for reuse, recovery and recycling of WEEE, vehicles and packaging are not being met and that illegal shipments of waste are frequent.

If EU law is adhered to then the potential reductions in greenhouse gas measure 30 per cent, so by missing out on targets member states are leaving behind an environmental cost.

Earlier this week residents in West Sussex were praised for recycling almost twice as much WEEE as the rest of Britain.