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More controls needed to support electricals reuse

An influential MP has called for action to be taken to ensure more waste electrical and electronic (WEEE) items are reused.

Alan Whitehead, Labour co-chair of the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, said authorities, manufacturers and retailers had a responsibility to the public and the environment to sustain the life of unwanted electrical goods and prevent them going to landfill. 

His comments come after the Reuse and Recycling EU Social Enterprises network said new WEEE laws backed by MEPs this month would severely hinder WEEE reuse rates.

Whitehead said: “It is quite clear that here in the UK we now have the capability to give our unwanted electrical items a new lease of life, which benefits the whole supply chain.

“But some parts of the industry are not seeing the true benefit of re-using WEEE waste. It’s obvious that more needs to be done to address this in order that all recyclers are able to operate in the same responsible way and within the law.”

EnvironCom chief executive Sean Feeney said: “There needs to be a level playing field across the industry, with tighter controls on WEEE at household recycling sites in favour of those producer compliance schemes and recyclers that support reuse.”

WRAP recently calculated that almost a quarter of WEEE could be reusable, with a potential value of £220m. 

The government-funded body’s report, Realising the Reuse Value of Household WEEE, found that 23% was either fit for resale and reuse, or required only minor repairs before it could be resold.’

Whitehead was speaking on a visit to EnvironCom’s WEEE reuse facility in North London.

The Edmonton site, which opened in October 2011, is aiming to achieve a 30% reuse rate.

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