The warning was given to Government by the UKs major producers of refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and other large appliances.
Responding to the latest consultation of the UK implementation of the WEEE Directive, the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) favours a transparent separate charge on relevant goods to meet the actual costs of recycling historical waste.
AMDEA spokesman Douglas Herbison said: The latest round of consultation leaves many fundamental questions unanswered. How will consumers know what the actual costs of recycling are- an intended goal of the directive?
What will happen to producers who fail to register for their share of the liability? How will all this be enforced, and where is the money coming from to pay for enforcement?
The association believes that rather than seeking to reinvent the wheel, the Government should look to the Republic of Irelands model which is set to exceed WEEE Targets by 170%.
Herbison added: The truth is that there is a growing consensus among the vast majority of producers (with the exception of some in IT), small and independent retailers, local authorities and environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth that an enforceable, transparent recycling charge is the way forward for historical waste.
We will continue to press Government to consider all its options in the months ahead, to create a system which is workable, deliverable on time and to budget, and can enjoy widespread support.
AMDEAs proposals for an enforceable charge are only to cover the actual costs of recycling equipment manufactured before the directive was conceived- according to Department of Trade and Industry estimates this will amount to around £500 million.
As the lead trade association for domestic appliances, AMDEA counts among its members Electrolux, Hoover, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit and Siemens.