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WEEE consultation changes necessary to protect market transparency

Changes in the UK WEEE system are necessary to protect open competition and free markets between producer compliance schemes, according to The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA).

Richard Hughes, technical manager at AMDEA, a member of the Joint Trade Associations (JTA), said: “The current system is fundamentally flawed, because it gives those companies who control access to WEEE a guaranteed buyer, irrespective of cost. This distorts the market, because there is very little incentive for Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs) to compete for producer members. 

“For many PCSs that collect more WEEE than they need, there is more profit to be made in selling evidence to other PCSs, than in attempting to win producer members.”

This means that although the WEEE directive is legislation for producer responsibility, producers often have very little influence over where waste electrical equipment is recycled, to what standards, and at what cost, said AMDEA. WEEE producers are then forced to pay charges that do not reflect the real costs of recycling, it added.

Hughes supports the Government being minded towards options 3 and 4 of its consultation into Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, because they would ensure lively competition between PCSs and producer members.

He added: “That must be at the heart of a transparent and functioning market place.”

However, compliance scheme Electrolink recently warned that the proposed changes could shift WEEE costs onto local councils and that there will be no guarantee that WEEE will be handled properly.

The consultation closes on 21 June.

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