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LARAC and REPIC call for more work with local authorities

There aren't enough suitable civic amenity sites for the Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling schemes proposed by producers, according to Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) chairman Lee Marshall.

His comments come just one week after British Retail Consortium (BRC) launched its WEEE compliance scheme (see MRW story) and coincided with The Recycling Electrical Producers' Industry Consortium (REPIC) unveiling it plans.

Under the WEEE directive, retailers and manufacturers are classed as producers of electronic and electrical goods and have a responsibility to provide a free collection service for consumers dumping clapped out toasters, TVs and walkmans.

REPIC represents electrical goods manufacturers while the BRC is the industry body for shops such as Comet, Dixon and Argos.

Both propose that WEEE is collected from existing local authority sites and that they would fund the collections, as well as the upgrading of sites.

It is currently thought that 1,000 WEEE collection sites will be needed across the UK, which at present has 1,076 civic amenity sites.

Despite these numbers, Marshall said that the number of suitable sites would fall some way short of the 1,000 target, as many sites lack the space for additional WEEE banks.

He added: "I don't think we will be able to meet the market demand through civic amenity sites alone."

One thing he did agree with producers on was the need for local authorities and producers to start discussing the challenges ahead.

This was echoed by REPIC, which in a press statement said that consultation with local authorities was "long over due".

REPIC chief executive Philip Morton added: "Time is ticking by and we need to start taking decisions about how the WEEE Directive will work in reality."

The directive is due to come into force January 2006.

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