LONDON The U.K. Government has decided to review progress on the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and has indicated that a further delay will be needed.
Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks said, “This Government is firmly committed to sustainable development and recognises that effective implementation of the WEEE directive has a key role to play in achieving this goal.
“The Directive is challenging and effective implementation of its obligations requires a lot of planning and preparation – it is vital that the producers, retailers and the waste industry together with Government have the appropriate plans, infrastructure and regulations in place. We have listened to the concerns expressed by both the business community and other stakeholders over the implementation process and have decided that more time is needed to get the implementation right. Although any further delay is regrettable, this will ultimately deliver far greater environmental benefits.
“My officials will be working closely with colleagues from Defra and the Environment Agency which will form the basis for a formal consultation on draft regulations and guidance in the Spring.”
Liz Parkes, Head of Waste Regulation, Environment Agency, added, “Whilst we are keen to see producer responsibility implemented for WEEE, we want to be confident that it will deliver real benefits for the environment. We welcome DTI's announcement and will be supporting the policy review to ensure that implementation imposes the minimum regulatory burden for all concerned.”
The WEEE Directive requires producers to pay for treatment and recycling or recovery of all WEEE products. Retailers have an obligation to offer take-back services to householders and will be providing a network of collection facilities where consumers can take back their WEEE for it to be collected separately from other municipal waste.
The Directive introduces producer responsibility for WEEE. Producers will have 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 recognise that this has implications for the burdens placed on Local Authorities to dispose of separately collected WEEE. It announced previously that DTI would meet Local Authority New Burdens costs in the light of Ministerial decisions to defer the WEEE implementation. Specifically, it has said that DTI will meet any costs to Local Authorities of arranging the treatments required for any televisions and PC monitors containing cathode ray tubes and fluorescent lamps which they collect separately (rendering these 'hazardous') and sent to a hazardous waste landfill, in advance of the WEEE Regulations introducing producer responsibility for these costs, i.e. where local authorities have chosen to collect separately these categories of WEEE in the absence of any legislative requirement at this stage.