LONDON The government-funded Envirowise programme is urging companies to take advantage of the free help available to rethink the products they design – or risk facing a difficult future when the WEEE Directive is eventually implemented.
With a six-month deferment on the implementation of new rules on electrical and electronic waste announced by the DTI, Envirowise is also launching a partnership programme to help producers work in collaboration with their suppliers to meet the deadline for compliance with RoHS.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which is now expected to become effective in June 2006, will make producers responsible for financing the collection and treatment of their products at their ‘end of life’ to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. New products launched on the UK market after 13 August 2005 must be marked to show this and to identify the producer.
The Reduction of Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) goes one step further, banning the sale of new electrical and electronic equipment that contains more than agreed levels of particular hazardous substances as of July 2006.
Electronics businesses can sign up for Envirowise's free and confidential designtrack service, which focuses on minimising the environmental impact of a product over its entire lifecycle. Companies can receive free on-site guidance on cleaner design, including how to update products and processes to achieve environmental improvements and cost-savings, as well as advice on legislation.
The partnership programme to help producers work in collaboration with their suppliers to meet the deadline for compliance with RoHS is aimed at electronics firms with a supply chain of at least 10 companies who can act as a host company, working in partnership with Envirowise and their suppliers towards legislative compliance, better environmental performance and commercial benefits throughout the supply chain. All participating businesses will receive free advice via specialist publications, events and seminars, workshops and on-site visits.
Envirowise Programme Director, Martin Gibson, said, “Thousands of companies in the electronics sector need to start changing their business practices to ensure they meet the rigid standards set out in the new legislation. Taking action now, by arranging a designtrack visit or signing up to the supply chain programme, will pay dividends in the long-term and can often result in a product that is easier and cheaper to make.”