Producers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) will have to pay more to their producer compliance schemes for the collection and treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) following the sharp fall in metal prices.
Producer compliance scheme Valpak marketing director Duncan Simpson said: The main reason that WEEE producers have to pay more for evidence is that the steel price has changed. Before the steel prices used to be high and subsidised the collection and treatment of WEEE but now this has gone down. This has meant the cost of evidence needs to rise to fill the gap.
We are in a changing situation and we are trying to ensure that we collect material on behalf of our customers and we make sure we provide this at commercial viable rates.
He said that he would keep costs at a minimum for his producers.
The WEEE regulations place an obligation on EEE producers to ensure that a proportion of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment is reused or treated and recovered. To show that they have met their obligations, producers need to get evidence from the treatment facilities or the exporters of separately collected UK WEEE that it has been treated and recovered. Producer compliance schemes collect these evidence notes to show that their producers have met their obligations.
The warning of higher WEEE evidence prices was echoed by Electrolink sales and marketing director Paul Van Danzig. He said: With any commodity market you are going to get fluctuations in values of raw material. Evidence prices will be linked to the value of scrap material. If the scrap material drops then the cost of evidence will increase which producers will have to pay for.
WEEE reprocessor SWEEP contracts manager Justin Greenaway said that as a consequence of the fall in commodity prices his firm had to increase the gate fee a little bit. He said: There has been a fall in material prices but WEEE still needs to be recycled.
He added that everyone is in the same position and said that producer compliance schemes had been very positive and supportive over the rise in cost.
However, WEEE producer compliance scheme Repic chief executive Philip Morton said certain categories of WEEE would drop more dramatically than others and this could lead to lack of WEEE for WEEE reprocessors to treat and he said while secondary raw material prices have fallen recently, over-capacity for WEEE treatment and increased competition should reduce WEEE prices.
Morton added: The credit crunch will affect electronic sales as they become squeezed. So, we expect to see a reasonable drop in overall WEEE but not necessarily in the kilograms collected.