February 2020 saw the publication of the delayed Post Implementation Review of the 2013 WEEE Regulations which had originally been expected in 2019. The review is of particular importance in light of the fact the WEEE Regulations are currently under review with a full consultation expected on a new version of the regulations toward the end of 2020. You can read more about this HERE
Following their introduction in 2006, the WEEE Regulations were reviewed in 2013. It is standard government practice to review Regulations five years following their implementation in order to assess their fitness for purpose and make an assessment of any unintended consequences.
You can access the full review document of the 2013 WEEE Regulations HERE
Key messages from the review
The compliance fee has helped to decrease evidence costs
The compliance fee was introduced when the regulations were reviewed in 2013 in order to create a price limit for the cost of evidence and ensure that producer costs were reflective of true treatment costs. The compliance fee is a mechanism by which Compliance Schemes can meet their obligation if there is a shortage of evidence in the market. Many schemes have utilised the fee in the face of missed UK wide recycling targets over the last few years. The review concludes that in combination with UK Household WEEE Collection targets, the compliance fee has been instrumental in decreasing costs of evidence.
The report does not discuss recent issues, such as the recent developments with contamination from Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which impacted prices in 2019.
Unintended consequences of Regulation 34
Regulation 34 was designed to facilitate collection from local authority sites who are not in contract with a producer compliance scheme. However, the process is often burdensome for both local authorities and producer compliance schemes. In an attempt to remove some of the burden, a voluntary producer balancing scheme, which later became mandatory, has meant that the costs of collection of WEEE from designated collection facilities are shared by all producer compliance schemes.
Collection of PV panels as WEEE lower than expected
Photovoltaic (PV) panels come into scope with the introduction of the 2013 Regulations in category 14. It was expected that 45% of PV EEE put on market would be collected as WEEE. However, the actual collection rate has been considerably lower than this for multiple years from 2015. This is due to PV panels’ long life-expectancy (+20 years) meaning very few have entered the waste system and the majority of returns to date have been faults or warranty returns. In addition, there has been a significant decline of PV panels placed on the market since they came into scope of the WEEE Regulations. Therefore, meeting the EU Member State target for collections has been more difficult.
In summary, the review has found that generally the objectives of the 2013 WEEE Regulations have been met successfully ensuring compliance with the EU WEEE Directive. Despite Brexit, the government remains supportive of the core principles of the 2002 WEEE Directive, being “to promote re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in order to reduce the quantity of such waste to be disposed”. Therefore, the UK will continue to follow these aims and will shortly consult on improving the WEEE producer responsibility regime; expected towards the end of 2020. This will involve consulting on changes to the Regulations to incentivise more sustainable product design, increase recycling and ensure alignment with the wider Extended Producer Responsibility framework. Following this, the Regulations will be amended as necessary.
For any specific queries regarding this review, please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and our Policy team will be more than happy to provide support and advice.