The formal approval of amendments to the UK WEEE System under the WEEE Recast Directive 2012/19/EU has been announced by parliament. The amended Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 were laid before parliament on the 11th of December by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) who lead the consultation to develop the UK’s implementation of the Recast Directive and were approved to enter law from the 1st of January 2014.
A summary of the WEEE Regulations 2013 changes on the previous WEEE Regulations 2006 include:
- Introduction of a de-minimus threshold for small producers placing under 5 tonnes on the UK market
- Option for small producers to register direct with the Environment Agency or via a Compliance Scheme (deadline 31st Jan for 2014 compliance year)
- Schemes to have a fixed household WEEE recycling target (to be confirmed 31st March) to meet each year on behalf of their members and based on member previous year EEE data
- Compliance Schemes will be responsible for obtaining sufficient household WEEE evidence to satisfy those obligations by partnering with Local Authorities to collect WEEE from DCFs or by collecting their own WEEE from end users
- Local Authorities are now able to ‘self-treat’ WEEE streams and retain the value of such WEEE. At present certain WEEE streams have a revenue and others a cost. If a LA does opt out and self-treat then evidence generated from this route will not be sold but will be placed on a central register and deducted from the overall target tonnage requirements
- Compliance Schemes can meet their member recycling obligations (annual fixed target) via their own WEEE collections, arrangements with other schemes or via a new alternative route to compliance through the payment of a Compliance Fee
- Compliance Fees won't be determined until after September and it is expected that they will be set at a level to encourage actual WEEE collections taking place but there remains uncertainty about the level of the fees
- The reporting category for LED lighting has changed from category 5 to category 13
- A 14th category has been added to the scope of WEEE: Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels
- The regulations have removed the need for electrical and electronic equipment to be marked with a Producer Identification Mark (PIM)
- Companies based in the EU will be required to have an Authorised Representative based in the country which they are registering for compliance
- Retailers with a sales floor space of over 400m2 must offer free take-back for very small WEEE regardless of whether there is an intent to purchase and with no obligation on the consumer to buy a replacement
This is not an exhaustive list of the changes which will become law from the 1st of January 2014.
David Hassell, Comply Direct Deputy Compliance Manager, commented the following on the formal approval of the amended WEEE Regulations: “After much consultation and ongoing debate we now at last have the final version of the amended WEEE Regulations. There is nothing significant in this final version that we have not already seen in the draft regulations but as stakeholders in the UK WEEE System we now need to work them into schemes, producer activity and the collection and recycling process from the 1st Jan 2014 which is just 2 weeks away.”
“There is still uncertainty in terms of the targets, substantiated estimates, costs of evidence, compliance fees, local authorities opting out, treatment and classification issues with fridges, small mixed WEEE and flat panel display equipment etc. but our focus at Comply Direct is to make the new regulations work and to keep our members fully up to speed with the changes. It remains to be seen what cost reductions will be achieved as a result of the new structure but whatever we can achieve will be passed on to our members”.
As a government approved compliance scheme for the WEEE Regulations, Comply Direct will continue to communicate with scheme members regarding the changes but for more information please do not hesitate to get in touch.