Delays writing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive into UK law are leaving businesses dangerously unaware of their obligations, it has been claimed.
Computer manufacturer Brother fears a time bomb is ticking that will leave firms with costs and duties they are unprepared for.
The WEEE Directive, which requires producers of electroscrap to take care of its recycling from August 2005, was supposed to be transposed into UK law last month.
But the Government launched a final consultation period until October 29, making the law unlikely to be written before December.
And the Department of Trade and Industry admitted this posed a major timetable challenge as the national clearing house needed to be handling registration by the start of next year.
A survey carried out by Brother showed that almost 40% of firms had not heard of the law. Brother UK marketing director Mike Dinsdale said: Many companies have stockpiles of old IT equipment and will be responsible for disposing of the waste vendors will not take back potentially with heavy costs for those failing to plan ahead.
And corporate risk manager Louise Marshall added: Our customers will have to fund disposal of historic waste, which will bring down their budget for new products.