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WEEE questions remain for metal recyclers

Although a clear implementation date for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive has been welcomed, there remain a number of unanswered questions for metal recyclers.

British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) director general Lindsay Millington said: Without a timetable, it was impossible to plan. Its also good to have confirmation that established operators will not need an additional licence to treat WEEE; and that the Environment Agency wont be monitoring WEEE treatment compliance until producer responsibility is fully in place in July 2007.

But while the BMRAs members already recycle most of the heavy WEEE such as large domestic appliances, it appears difficult to forecast how the new designated collection facilities network will affect established supply chains, particularly for smaller sites.

Millington added: The newly collected WEEE, whether small domestic or electronic, will all have metallic content. But we dont yet have data on likely volumes, particularly for non-ferrous metals.

It will also be some time before we have producer information about the materials and hazardous substances contained in products, which we need to plan effective separation and develop market solutions.

The BMRA said it would be working closely with the Department of Trade and Industry to resolve these issues. It will also strive to ensure that the evidence collection arrangements, which rely heavily on treatment operators, recyclers and materials exporters are properly road tested and viable.


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