LONDON Collection and recycling of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) in the UK will now be the responsibility of manufacturers and retailers of the equipment from June 2006. The delay is to allow more time to establish an adequate network of facilities for separate collection of WEEE for householders to use.
The Government has postponed the implementation date for the WEEE Directive until June 2006 in the light of the preparations needed for this legislation, which breaks new ground for many of those involved, and continuing concerns expressed by the business community and other stakeholders.
Malcolm Wicks, Department of Trade and Industry Minister, said, “This Directive is about dealing effectively with electrical waste which can be damaging to the environment. It is challenging and has required a lot of planning and preparation but our priority is to get this right.”
Jeff Cooper, the Environment Agency's Manager for Waste Producer Responsibility, added, “The Environment Agency will work closely with Government Departments and the devolved administrations to implement the forthcoming WEEE Regulations. We expect to be able to announce arrangements for the registration of producers in the early autumn with registration starting in January 2006.”
The Directive introduces producer responsibility for WEEE with producers having to finance treatment and recycling/recovery of separately collected WEEE in the UK to specified treatment standards and recycling/recovery targets. Retailers have an obligation to offer take-back services to householders.
The Government has modified the timetable for practical implementation of the WEEE Directive's main provisions on producer responsibility and retailer take-back obligations in respect of WEEE from January 2006 to June 2006 and plans to make the WEEE Regulations to transpose the main provisions of the WEEE Directive into UK law shortly.
Retailers and Local Authorities are involved in developing this collection infrastructure for household WEEE and the British Retail Consortium is developing a compliance scheme, under which participating retailers, instead of offering in-store take-back, will fund an alternative network of WEEE collection facilities. As part of this, they are offering funding to Local Authorities to upgrade civic amenity (CA) sites to facilitate separate collection of household WEEE.