Compliance scheme Valpak and a group of nine producer trade associations have again gone head-to-head with rival proposals for the WEEE compliance fee.
Defra has launched a consultation on which option should be chosen, which closes on 18 November.
Valpak and the Joint Trade Associations (JTA) – which combines nine bodies – similarly clashed when the JTA option was chosen for 2017.
The WEEE Regulations 2013 established a system in which producers finance the cost of collection, treatment, recovery and recycling material from private households, with annual collection targets imposed on producer compliance schemes (PCSs).
Defra may impose a compliance fee methodology for schemes that fail to achieve their collection target.
Under the JTA proposal, fees would be stream-specific. It said this would ensure that compliance scheme costs were “reflective of the cost to collect WEEE” by using the weighted average net cost per tonne of direct WEEE collections from local authorities. It said this would strengthen the incentive for schemes to collect directly from councils.
A premium would reflect the extent to which schemes have collected WEEE from local authorities rather than “relying on lower-cost evidence from other sources”.
The JTA said a non-linear escalator would be applied to streams depending on whether national collections were in deficit or surplus against a national target
If a WEEE stream were in deficit, the escalator would be set so that schemes still had an incentive to collect but would not be subject to any higher fee.
This higher ‘surplus’ fee would be imposed where there was material available in a WEEE stream above the national target level, since it would then be more reasonable to expect a scheme to comply.
Under the Valpak proposal, compliance fees would be calculated separately for each scheme wishing to use the fee and also for each WEEE stream.
This would be based on the weighted average collection and treatment costs of all schemes using the fee, scheme operational management costs which would be avoided if these were not reflected in the fee – to be set at £3.50 per tonne – and whether a scheme used the producer balancing scheme during the year.
It would also take account of the degree to which national targets were missed and the scheme’s performance relative to its market share.
A condition of using the compliance fee would be the provision of accurate and detailed cost data by schemes to support any submission.
The UK missed its 2017 WEEE collection target for PCSs to collect 622,033 tonnes, leading to concerns that the methodology for setting targets is flawed.
In addition, under the WEEE Directive, the UK’s WEEE collection target will jump from 45% of products placed on the market to 65%, or 85% of all WEEE generated.