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Electrolink rejects claims made by Government and JTA about new WEEE law costs

Compliance scheme Electrolink has hit back at claims that proposed changes to WEEE legislation will boost council revenues.

Last week, the Joint Trade Association (JTA), which says its represents 90% of WEEE producer obligation, backed the Government’s claims that the proposed recast of the WEEE directive would benefit cash strapped councils.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is currently consulting on four options to meet EU targets to collect 85% of WEEE generated in the UK from 2019 onwards.

Business minister 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 changes also seek to address concerns from producers that the the cost of compliance is often much higher than the true costs of processing WEEE.

Barry Van Danzig

However, Barry Van Danzig, chief executive of Electrolink, told MRW that the changes would shift producer costs onto local authorities, and challenged JTA to a debate about where the cost of new rules would fall.

The BIS consultation proposes four options to

   1. Do nothing

   2. Establish a national compliance scheme

   3. Introduce a collection target and compliance fee

   4. 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.

However Van Danzig said that the idea that local authorities will benefit is an illusion.

“Where is the guarantee that WEEE will be handled properly and where it the guarantee that local authorities will not pick up any of the costs?” he said.

“Opting out [choosing to collect and manage WEEE directly] simply means that the local authority will have to take the financial risk of fluctuations in the scrap market for WEEE they already benefit from,” he said. “If prices fall then the local authority will lose out and will have to pay to get the producers’ obligated WEEE recycled.

“By opting in then they have to hand over the WEEE ‘free of charge’ but this does not take account of their administration or handling costs nor does it cater for any increased operating costs of the HWRC caused by the proposed changes to the legislation.”

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