Defra has opened a consultation on two rival balancing schemes for waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) to ensure that the costs of collecting such materials when requested by local authorities are shared among all producer compliance schemes (PCSs).
Defra’s consultation follows its decision in May 2018 that all PCSs must join a balancing scheme to ensure collection services are provided to councils where they have no collection contract with a PCS.
WSF (WEEE Schemes Forum) runs the current voluntary scheme, which is managed on its behalf by Anthesis (UK).
It said the voluntary system could be swiftly adapted to meet the requirements of Defra’s mandatory approach since 19 out of the 27 household compliance schemes were already members and represented the majority of WEEE compliance obligation by weight.
WSF said its scheme was “proven to work and works well” and had been developed with input from local authorities.
Transition from that would be straightforward, it argued, and it offered compliance with competition law, experience of managing client funds and, in Anthesis, a global organisation acting as independent administrator.
The WASUK (WEEE Allocation Scheme UK) bid said its sole director is Martin Fortune, a director of Solihull-based consultancy Key Waste Solutions.
It said the main differences between its bid and the present system were that all PCSs would have a single shareholding with directors appointed from among them.
A portal would be used to deal with local authority request for WEEE disposals, tender responses and communications, and an online chat facility would offer support.
Local authorities would be able to specify whether they want all WEEE category collections to be made by the same compliance schemes or not, and be entitled to reject a winning bid where previous complaints had been upheld about it within a defined period.
WASUK would be administered by consulting engineer Aecom.
Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said the need for continuity made WSF his preferred choice: “Operating the producer balancing scheme requires a detailed understanding of the subtleties of the WEEE regulations, great attention to detail and the trust of key stakeholders such as WEEE schemes and local authorities.
“As the tried and trusted operator working with the WSF, Anthesis has successfully performed this role for nearly three years.”
Harvey said the balancing scheme was critical to the stability of the WEEE system and so choice of operator was essential.
“The proposal from WASUK does include some useful ideas that could be considered for incorporation into the mandatory system,” he said.
“However, the need to ensure that the system is fully operational within one month of appointment means the WSF and Anthesis are the logical choice as [it] becomes mandatory.”