UK’s major producers and suppliers of refrigerators, washing machines and other large appliances have called on the Government to halt the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic and Equipment (WEEE) directive and undertake a fundamental review of the process to date.
The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA), made up of members including Electrolux, Hoover and Siemens, has written to new Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling outlining its concerns.
AMDEA is increasingly concerned that if the directive is incorrectly transposed it could make it impossible for many of its companies to continue to operate profitably in the UK. As under the terms of the directive its members will bear the financial and legal responsibility for recycling past, current and future WEEE.
In its letter AMDEA described the consultation process as “confused” and said its implementation could “negate the directive’s environmental objectives and could undermine it altogether”. It questioned why the Government had found implementation more complicated than other EU members, and said the Government had failed to conduct a full Regulatory Impact Assessment. It also said many of the products to be recycled were manufactured by companies who have ceased trading in the UK and would therefore not be sharing the costs.
AMDEA chairman Uwe Hanneck said: “The appointment of a new Secretary of State enables the Government to look afresh at the whole process. We strongly urge Mr Darling to seize this opportunity with both hands, to ensure the directive is transposed as in other European markets in a way in which can inspire confidence in producers and consumer and achieve its important environmental objectives.”
Recycling Electrical Producers’ Industry Consortium (REPIC) chairman Dr Philip Morton said: “The producer community decided it wanted to bring its concerns to the attention of everyone. It is a good thing to have brought out into the open, and will hopefully stimulate some good and constructive debate.” Not-for-profit REPIC was set up by industry for the purpose of complying with the WEEE directive and is separate to trade associations.