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WEEE consultation shows status quo is unpopular

Responses to the Government’s Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) consultation indicate the sector believes the current arrangements should be replaced.

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) received 256 responses to the consultation, having put forward four options (below) and indicating preferences for numbers 3 and 4:

  • Option 1: do nothing/continue with current system
  • Option 2: a National Producer Compliance Scheme (instead of competition between current compliance schemes)
  • Option 3: targets set for compliance schemes along with a “compliance fee” if these targets are not met
  • Option 4: collection sites matched to collection schemes

Respondents were asked to rank each option according to preference, although not all options were ranked by some respondents.

Option 1 “Do nothing” had the highest number of respondents saying it was their least preferred option with 132 out of 233.

Option 2 was not popular with respondents with 194 (93%) ranking it as the third or fourth best option.

Option 3 received substantial support across all stakeholder groups. 206 of 217 (95%) indicated it was either their first or second preference.

Option 4 had the highest amount choose it as their most preferred option with 116 respondents, mostly made up of producers and their trade associations, according to BIS.

The 256 responses were made up of:

  • 100 producers
  • 49 local government
  • 29 trade bodies
  • 22 Producer Compliance Schemes
  • 17 distributors
  • 16 WEEE treatment facilities
  • 16 charities and social enterprises
  • 14 electrical reuse organisations
  • 11 waste management companies

The next step is for the Government to publish guidance notes on the proposed changes at least 10 weeks before the 1 January 2014 implementation date. BIS said that this will be published in September 2013.

The WEEE consultation took place between 17 April and 21 June 2013 responding to minimum goals set out by the EU.

In July 2012 the WEEE Directive Recast was published forcing EU member states to increase 4kg of electronic waste recycled per person per year to 20kg by 2020.

Furthermore, the waste electronic collection target will rise to 45% by 2016 and to 85% by 2019.

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