The Environment Agency (EA) is planning to increase the amount that producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) are expected to pay to cover the cost of WEEE recycling.
Proposals for a shake-up of WEEE regulations were published in a Defra consultation.
The consultation said that, as it stands, the EA is not recovering the costs involved in WEEE regulation. So the agency is to launch a ’strategic review of charges’ in the autumn, outlining plans for its charges levied on businesses in England for next year.
Defra said: “A key element of the EA proposal is to increase charges for obligated producers of EEE. Producers must contribute their share of the necessary increases to ensure that the recycling evidence system is regulated effectively.”
Regulators in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have no current plans to review their WEEE charges.
Currently, fees are passed to the regulator in the territory in which a producer’s compliance scheme is approved.
The Defra consultation said: “In order that this charging scheme works effectively, the fees charged to producers of EEE should be passed to the regulator in the territory of the UK in which that business is based.”
The consultation is also asking industry for comment on plans to retain the existing 14 WEEE categories rather than moving to six, which will happen from 1 January 2019 if the UK choses to take on EU regulations unadulterated.
Defra said that having just six WEEE categories would end up with some producers ”paying significantly higher costs” but “significant savings” for others.
The department also wants to make membership of the producer balancing system (PBS) compulsory. PBS is a voluntary scheme to help local authorities with their obligations.
Lighting compliance scheme Recolight said Defra’s proposals were a “vital opportunity” to address the scale of WEEE non-compliance through online retailers.
The company estimates that non-compliant LED lamps sold through online retailers could represent around 20% of all those sold in the UK.
Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said: “This is a great opportunity to contribute to the development of the UK’s WEEE system.”