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Clearing house plan gains support

A clearing-house proposal to deal with waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has gained support from electroscrap stakeholders.

In November, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) released a consultation on implementing the WEEE Directive and touted the idea of a clearing house.

About 220 stakeholders responded to the consultation, which ended last month, and the vast majority supported the clearing house concept.

Dr Mark Downs, head of recycling at the DTI, says that the clearing house would effectively be a telephone line arranging collection in a fixed time. It could also establish producers share and calculate obligated tonnage. While the Government preferred the idea of a clearing house, it has also proposed introducing a visible fee on goods or a system of tradable permits.

But the majority of support was behind the clearing house, although there was no clear view on whether it should manage collection services or simply allocate

collected WEEE to producers.

There is overwhelming support for the clearing house to be responsible for holding the data and reporting this to the enforcement authorities, the DTI adds.


Now that the consultation has ended, the DTI will develop guidance and draft legislation. This should be issued in late spring and will form the final part of the Governments three stages of formal consultation.

But there are still issues to be worked out. While the majority of respondents support the concept of a retailer compliance scheme, there was a large response to the proposed criteria outlined in the consultation.

Additionally, many respondents feel the proposed retailer fund of up to £10 million to support development of WEEE collection at civic amenity sites and a retailer compliance schemes takeback services might not be enough. However, retailers feel the fund is too high or that it should not be fixed or capped.

And while introducing a visible fee had gained support and criticism alike, less than half of the respondents provided views on using a visible fee to finance the costs of historical WEEE.

Those who did respond generally appeared to be in favour of it, according to the DTI summary. On financial guarantees for future WEEE, there is strong support for a non-prescriptive approach and for a range of options for producers to meet their legal requirements.

What products the directive affected remains a concern for respondents. The DTI says there was overwhelming support for its proposals to develop non-statutory guidance and generic criteria to assess whether products fall within the directives scope. u

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