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Common interest group says WEEE consultation fails to address key objectives

A common interest group has formed to highlight concerns regarding the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recast consultation.

The group of organisations includes Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs), Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs) and Producers.

Of the four options put forward by the consultation, every member of the common interest group supports Option 1, with amendments. This is in line with a recent poll by hazardous waste recycler and WEEE compliance scheme organisers Wastecare, in which a strong majority voted for the same.

The group, which includes compliance scheme Electrolink, claims that the Government is failing to address some of the key objectives of the WEEE Recast. Its major areas for concern are:

  • the way the consultation infers that recycling targets for 2016 (45%) and 2019 (65%) are a maximum rather than a minimum
  • the lack of priority given to hazardous WEEE
  • the Government’s interpretation of the new definition of ‘dual use’ WEEE

The group said: “By treating the minimum collection targets as inferred maximums there is no incentive for PCSs and AATFs to promote and prioritise the collection and treatment of hazardous WEEE. On the contrary, once the target volume is achieved the PCS/AATF is effectively penalised for over collecting. The outcome of such measures is that the UK WEEE system will do the ‘minimum’ to comply, only pursuing valuable, bulk volume WEEE which is surplus to target requirements. 

“Unfortunately, this type of WEEE is typically non-hazardous in nature. The remaining hazardous WEEE will perversely then be de-prioritised.”

The group added that all collections of hazardous WEEE must be funded by the producer regardless of achievement of the national target from 2016. Currently certain producers refuse to fund up to a third of the WEEE collected, it claimed.

Having a maximum target will eliminate the value of surplus collections and will not encourage a gradual development towards the 2019 targets, it added. 

The group also disagreed with the Government’s statement about ‘dual use’ WEEE: “Producers are aware, when placing product on the market, of the probable split between business to consumer and business to business WEEE”.

It said: “In many cases this is completely impractical and is precisely why the original ‘dual purpose’ clause exists today. The producer is very likely unaware of the split when placing its product on the UK market for the first time.”

The group added that clarification must be sought from the European Commission over this issue.

The ongoing consultation ends on the 21 June.

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