An industry body, which claims it represents more than 90% of WEEE producer obligation in the UK, has backed the Government’s view that proposed changes to the WEEE legislation will be beneficial for local authorities.
The Joint Trade Association (JTA), representing eight trade associations and four producer-led WEEE compliance schemes, highlighted the financial gain cash-strapped councils could generate as part of changes proposed under the Government consultation on the UK’s interpretation of the revised WEEE Directive.
Minister of business and enterprises Michael Fallon said the proposals would “allow local authorities, who play a vital part in the collection of unwanted items, to maximise the potential income from their WEEE collections.”
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) consultation proposed four options to meet EU targets to collect 85% of WEEE generated in the UK from 2019 onwards:
- Do nothing
- Establish a national compliance scheme
- Introduce a collection target and compliance fee
- Match collection sites to producer compliance schemes
The Government said it was ‘minded’ to pursue either option 3 or 4.
It also proposed to give the operators of designated collection facilities (DCFs) of household WEEE - including local authority sites - the freedom to retain control over the treatment of WEEE streams likely to generate net revenue for the collector.
The JTA said that the proposed amendments to WEEE legislation are likely to help local authorities to generate revenues from WEEE collection.
Gerry O’Donnell, head of corporate strategy and government affairs at Philips UK, said: “That is a great opportunity for local authorities to be financially rewarded for the WEEE they collect. Enshrined in legislation this becomes a genuine and reliable income stream for authorities.”
He added that councils will also have the option of opting into producer funded collections free of charge.
Matthew King, head of waste management at Hertfordshire county council, said: “As a responsible local authority we need confidence that the WEEE we collect is treated in an auditable fashion. We also need a guarantee of free of charge WEEE collections. To also have the freedom to opt out of the system, and instead keep incomes from any WEEE with a positive value would be a very positive development. We understand that the Government’s options 3 and 4 will both give us this flexibility.”
The consultation closes on 21 June 2013.