Recolight comments on the Government’s WEEE regulations consultation response

18 May 2018
The Government has today published a summary of the responses they received to their recent WEEE regulations consultation – and indicated some of the actions they intend to take.The summary document includes three key changes that the Government will make to the UK’s WEEE regulations.  These are:

  • Retention of the existing 14 WEEE categories, rather than a move to 6 categories.
  • The introduction of a mandatory requirement for WEEE Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs) to be members of a Balancing System to ensure the costs of collecting WEEE from Local Authorities are shared out amongst all WEEE schemes.
  • Producer registration charges to be paid to the environment agency of the nation where the producer is based.  For example, fees from producers based in Scotland will be paid to SEPA, those based in England are paid to the EA.

Nigel Harvey, Chief Executive of Recolight, said “All three proposals were strongly supported by Recolight and its members.  In particular, retention of the 14 WEEE categories means producers will not need to report large and small equipment separately.  That avoids unnecessary red tape.

”He added “Making a PCS balancing system mandatory is a great move.  A majority of PCSs already participate in the current PCS Balancing System (or PBS).  However, a small proportion do not, and so they, and their producer members, can legitimately avoid funding the Local Authority WEEE that no PCS wants to collect.  That is not fair, and so this change is very welcome.”

The Government also published responses to questions that will feed into a wider review of the WEEE regulations.  Most striking was a question regarding WEEE freeriding through online sellers.  74% of respondents said that the current system had no or low impact on ensuring online sellers are compliant.  A common suggestion from respondents was that the WEEE Regulations should be amended to require online sellers and fulfilment houses to take on the responsibility of “producer” for the product they sell or stock on behalf of internet sellers.  

The Government has not yet said how they will tackle the online freeriders problem.  However, they indicate that it may be addressed in the forthcoming Resources and Waste strategy.  And recognising the importance, they have agreed to convene a round table of stakeholders in the meantime.Nigel Harvey commented “Online freeriding is a major problem to many in the electrical sector, which puts compliant companies at a competitive disadvantage.  Although it is disappointing that the Government has not yet proposed regulatory changes to tackle this problem, it is good to see that change is at last being contemplated.  It cannot happen too soon.”

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