Collect and Recycle

BIS response to WEEE consultation won’t be published until September

The government will not release its response to comments made as part of its consultation on proposed changes to the producer compliance system for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) until ‘early’ September, many of those recycling old computers with Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) will be interested to read.

The volume of responses received has led the government to delay its response by several weeks from the originally planned date of Friday 16th August. The consultation itself concluded eight weeks ago, on 21st June. The plan of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is now to publish a summary of the responses raised from the consultation shortly, followed next month by a formal response in which it outlines the proposed option that it favours.

A Department spokesperson stated: “The eight week period would have ended on Friday, but we have received just over 250 responses for the consultation. We expect to publish a summary and analysis of those responses this week and the intention is to publish the full response next month. That will include the detail of the key issues and what the proposals will be.”

The consultation was launched in response to the need for the recast WEEE Directive’s requirements to be incorporated into UK law, as well as to address producer concerns that the true cost of WEEE recycling is not reflected in the cost of complying with the regulations. The consultation outlined four proposed options for the WEEE system’s future.

The first option was no change, with the present system for WEEE disposal being retained. Another option presented was that of a ‘National Producer Compliance Scheme’ as an alternative to current compliance schemes competing with each other. The third option was the setting of targets for compliance schemes, with a ‘compliance fee’ being charged if they are not met, as opposed to the trading between collection schemes of WEEE evidence data. Option four involved collection sites being matched to compliance schemes.

Differing views have been forthcoming from the various stakeholders in UK IT recycling on the option that the government should pursue. The WEEE Common Interests Group, for instance, which represents some compliance schemes and reprocessors, suggested that several of the Recast WEE Directive’s key aspects – such as the prioritisation of hazardous waste and the interpretation of ‘dual use’ WEEE – were not addressed by the proposed options.

Meanwhile, the Joint Trade Association, representatives of electronics producers and compliance schemes such as Recolight and Repic, has argued that profit is being made from the current system by ‘intermediary’ companies driving up compliance costs for those firms that the present regulations obligate to recycle electronic business waste.

Certainly, here at Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we recognise the importance of the right regulations in relation to electronic recycling, and will therefore follow this story with great interest as industry stakeholders await the government’s formal response to the consultation. In the meantime, our own services for businesses are completely compliant, affordable and efficient.

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