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EA's wake up call for WEEE producers

Unregistered producers of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could get a phone call from the Environment Agency (EA) to let them know that they need to register.
Requirements came into force on July 1 but EA data suggests many manufacturers and importers are still not registered as producers in the UK.

Some producers may not have realised that the WEEE regulations apply to them. So the telephone campaign, targeting 4,500 UK companies, aims to make those companies aware that are in breach of the WEEE Directive.

EA head of waste Liz Parkes said: Since July 1, under the new WEEE regulations, separately collected waste equipment has to be treated and recycled, with the producers paying the cost. The new rules mean that anyone who produces, brands or imports such goods has to be registered with an approved Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS).

The data submitted to us by these schemes shows that most producers have done this. However we are aware there are smaller businesses obligated under the WEEE regulations who still havent registered.

"We realise that, as with any new legislation, the regulations may be news to many smaller producers. So, as part of a targeted telephone campaign, we will be calling 4,500 companies who might need to be registered.

Global consultancy Environ said this situation is not unique to the UK. Its experiences with businesses operating in several EU member states has shown widespread confusion.

Most manufacturers understand that they need to comply with WEEE requirements if they have sales offices in a particular country, such as the UK. However, in the business to business sector, manufacturers often sell through distribution networks and companies are finding that their distributors and resellers are struggling with WEEE obligations.

Parkes said: "Our overall priority for 2007 is to ensure those affected by the change in the law are aware of their responsibilities. In the first compliance period, which runs from July to December 2007, we want to help make sure businesses are complying with the new rules.

"However, if we find a business has flouted the rules and deliberately avoided registering, we will take enforcement action. These regulations are about protecting our environment and it's important that everyone plays their part."


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