As an accredited certification body for the PAS141 re-use standard and specialist EU e-waste and re-use auditors, we welcome the move from the European Commission to consider separate targets for WEEE reuse.
This approach will no doubt encourage the integration of legitimate reuse operators with the general WEEE compliance system.
Currently for many in the UK industry, reuse is not regarded as useful as it cannot easily be converted to “evidence” or has less value to the last holder than if the WEEE is just sold for recycling. There is so much demand for reuse products (mostly large appliances; televisions and monitors; ICT equipment and tools) but often genuine reuse operators struggle to find local councils and collection site operators, producer compliance schemes, retailers and treatment operators willing to work with them to help pre-select the appliances that may be suitable for the preparation for reuse process.
They are having to compete with sham reuse operators who buy the equipment with the view to poor UK or overseas disassembly or mock reuse operations which take no account of safety, functionality or end-user needs. Evidence is rarely issued on the WEEE dispatched to these non-traceable routes.
Producers recognise for the most part that there is a real need for reuse, and many (especially business-to-business producers) are already embracing WEEE returns so that they can reuse whole or component parts, but often this is done overseas with no traceability of the appliances being shipped across the border as it is not classed as “waste” so no shipment records are needed.
Without the incentive to meet a reuse target these issues are going to continue, so we hope that the European Parliament will find the review process useful and come to a sensible conclusion as soon as possible.
Julie-Ann Adams, managing director, Really Green Credentials Ltd