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WEEE Distributor Take-back Obligation Changes 2021 - FAQs

10th December 2020

Martin Hyde

As we get closer to the end of 2020, the upcoming changes to distributor take-back responsibilities are becoming more of a priority for businesses selling electronic equipment directly to UK consumers

What are take-back obligations?

Any business selling electronic equipment direct to consumers in the UK has obligations around collection of equivalent waste electricals to the items they sell. For example, when a consumer purchases a toaster, they may be able to return their old toaster at the same time.

The requirements around distributor take-back vary depending on the size of the business; more information about which can be found here.

Businesses are also required to provide information at point of sale on how consumers can properly dispose of their waste electricals.

What is the Distributor Take-back Scheme?

The Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS) is a voluntary initiative that has historically allowed retailers to pay a fee to a central fund and in turn, not need to meet the direct takeback requirements of distributor take-back.

The DTS has a banding system that charges based on the size of the business / the turnover related to electronics. Businesses have an obligation to either:

  • Offer take-back for equivalent items to those sold (free in-store but can have a charge for home collection)
  • Join the DTS

What is changing?

From January 2021, only two types of business will be able to use the DTS and these are:

  • Online only retailers (must have no physical store presence in the UK)
  • Any retailer with a total of less than £100,000 of sales of electronics across all sales channels

How does this affect me?

We have created a graphic HERE to help businesses identify their position related to the proposed changes to the DTS. If you are selling electronic equipment directly to UK consumers and you are unable to join the DTS in 2021, you may need to provide take-back services for certain items of waste electricals.

Our Policy Leader Martin Hyde provides a quick 5-minute video guide below to explain what your take-back obligations are, how you can meet them and how we can help you to do so.

How can I inform my customers?

The toolkit linked below has been developed by Material Focus, a producer funded organisation working at improving WEEE recycling in the UK. Material Focus is funded through the WEEE compliance fee. The toolkit contains information on how you can best meet your take-back obligations and inform customers of how best to recycle their waste electricals.

You can access the toolkit here

How else can you help?

Comply direct offer a range of waste collection and disposal services through our nationwide network of trusted partners and suppliers. We are also able to work with members looking to improve their take-back offerings as well as source commercially competitive outlets for waste electricals.

Please get in touch with our WEEE team whom will be more than happy to help – weee@complydirect.com / 01756 794 951