Fresh guidance on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recovery has been published in a bid to clamp down on illegal activity in the sector.
The Environment Agency guidance outlines strict standards for the re-classification of goods from non-household WEEE (B2B) to household WEEE (B2C).
Such a reclassification can be lucrative due to the nature of producer responsibility legislation.
But the EA said it expected “an audit trail which justifies the classification” if collectors wanted to perform such a move.
The new guidance:
- Defines “nature” and “quantity” tests that need to be applied to allow collected B2B to be classified B2C.
- Lists certain types of products that could be classified as both B2C or B2B, such as desktop computers or gas discharge lamps and the quantities which would allow them to be classified as B2C
- States classification as B2C must be made at the point of collection rather than at a point of consolidation further down the waste chain.
Nigel Harvey, chief executive of lamp recycling compliance scheme Recolight, said he welcomed the guidance.
He said: “In our opinion, effective enforcement of this guidance will do much to ensure that the B2C WEEE figures do not include misclassified B2B WEEE.”
Experts have raised concerns that some WEEE collectors were switching the classification of WEEE for profit.
Writing for MRW last month, Julie-Ann Adams, MD, Really Green Credentials, said: “Compliance schemes and treatment operators have raised concerns to EA officials that some non-household WEEE was often wrongly being classed as household WEEE.
“If this is the case, then not only are the UK’s B2C collection figures going to be skewed, but producers of household EEE are paying for the consequential collection and recycling costs.”