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WEEE regulations laid before Parliament

The much anticipated Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) regulations were laid before Parliament this week by Science minister Malcolm Wicks.

After extensive consultation, the move delivers on the commitment to introduce practical regulations to implement the WEEE Directive in the UK. It will put producer responsibility into action, meaning that all companies who import, manufacture and rebrand electrical and electronic equipment will have to finance its treatment, recovery and environmentally-safe disposal.

Wicks said: Electrical waste such as toasters, fridges and washing machines are a growing environmental problem here in the UK with over 2 million tonnes being dumped in landfill last year alone. There is currently no incentive for those that produce them to care about the life cycle of their products. These regulations will mean they can no longer shirk this responsibility.

By March 15 2007 producers will need to join an approved producer compliance scheme to ensure that they are able to comply with the directive from July 1 2007.

The Government also announced the appointment of Valpak as the operator of the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS), funded by £10 million from retailers. The scheme will establish a network of designated collection facilities for consumers to get rid of their WEEE. Valpak said that funding of up to £9,000 per civic amenity site would be provided to local authorities for site improvements. A registration payment of £6,000 will also be made to all sites, with a further £3,000 available for sites that justify additional expenditure.

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