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HP: matching WEEE collection sites to compliance schemes could save UK £64m

Matching Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) collection sites to compliance schemes could save the UK up to £64m a year by cutting red tape, according to a report commissioned by technology company Hewlett Packard (HP).

This will also be the most beneficial next step for the IT sector and local authorities, the report says.

The matching process is described in option 4 from The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) WEEE Consultation Paper, which set out four different scenarios to help meet EU recycling targets. The four options are:

  • Option 1. Doing nothing, would leave businesses with an excessive cost of £60m per annum
  • Option 2. To implement a National Producer Compliance Scheme, creates the biggest long term cost. The forecast annual cost to producers would be between £69m and £444m per annum based on experiences elsewhere in the EU
  • Option 3. The target and compliance fee system, would also cut red tape, but not to the same degree, with savings of only £11m to £26m each year
  • Option 4: Match collection sites to producer compliance schemes

Kirstie McIntyre, head of environmental compliance Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hewlett Packard, said:  “This report shows that Option 4: the matching process, provides the best option to cut red tape, saving between £35m and £64m each year. Widespread experience from other EU countries underlines the advantages of Option 4.”

She added: “A matching process provides local authorities with greater flexibility and choice than the current system and will support efforts to increase collection.  It provides collectors of WEEE with the flexibility to choose by waste stream, between a producer collection scheme or managing WEEE collection independently and retaining the value of this WEEE.”

But the report’s author, Phil Conran from consultancy 360 Environmental pointed out that the modeling for option 3 may underestimate the savings to be made from this strategy. He explained: “The Compliance Fee is likely to contribute towards additional margins that we have not been able to model in this report. For example, the Compliance Fee could be used as a benchmark for trading prices and could therefore become the de facto base cost of compliance. Compliance schemes wishing to sell evidence via direct contractual arrangements will know that they will only need to provide a marginal discount to this base price. This could further limit the reduction of red tape costs.”

The Government has said it is ‘minded’ to pursue either option 3 or 4.

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