At an Industry Council for Electronic Recycling (ICER) meeting held on 18th September, BIS officials have confirmed their programme of work related to the forthcoming WEEE Consultation.
Stage One is to assess data on compliance costs for the B2C sector – which is reputed to be significantly higher than the rest of Europe. This clearly reflects the focus that BIS has in replacing current WEEE Regulations and the concerns expressed by B2C Producers.
Stage Two is to establish how the regulations could be changed and to develop proposals by the end of November
Stage Three is to undergo an Impact Assessment and for the proposals to be approved by ministers and cabinet committee before being included in the consultation.
BIS officials have confirmed that they will update the next ICER meeting in November.
Defra has published a detailed plan setting out when the government intends to improve a number of waste and other environmental regulations including WEEE. The ‘Red Tape Challenge- Environment Theme Implementation Plan’ emanates from the Red Tape Challenge which was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011 and lays out the Department’s timetable for delivering proposals set out earlier this year.
The aim is to streamline environmental regulations and reduce the burden that they place on businesses. While BIS attempted to introduce interim measures prior to the new WEEE Regulations it appears that the challenge is too complex and, possibly, fraught with legal obstacles, any changes now seem destined to be introduced under the new WEEE Regulations.
Industry concerns revolve around B2C WEEE and the higher price paid by UK producers compared to their continental counterparts. This is deemed to be mainly down to a price-aggressive approach by those who have access and ownership of WEEE in supplying those who need evidence of its recycling.
The EA has published WEEE data relating to the second quarter of 2012. Comparison with the first two quarters of 2011 show that the collection rate of household WEEE, as a percentage of EEE placed on the market, has dropped from 49% to 47%. Recorded collection rates from the B2B sector remain consistently low showing that most used electrical/electronic equipment from this sector goes in other directions rather than through the WEEE recycling system.
One noticeable area of growth has been the reporting of non-obligated tonnage – this is probably reflecting pressure from various quarters to establish actual collection rates of all WEEE in advance of targets under the Recast Directive. There is, however, no obligation for AATFs to advise what is household and what is non-household WEEE.
The Environment Agency has attempted to clarify the definition of fixed installations – parts of which are, potentially, outside the scope of the WEEE Regulations.
While the term ‘fixed installation’ is not found in the text of either the WEEE Directive or the UK WEEE Regulations, it is a phrase used by the European Commission in technical guidance about the extent of the derogation in Article 2.1 of the WEEE Directive for ‘electronic equipment that is part of another type of equipment that does not fall within the scope of the Directive’. Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) covered by Article 2.1 is out of scope of the Directive and the Regulations.
The EA has taken care to state that the guidance is just that and is not legally binding but will take it into account in deciding whether electrical equipment is in scope or not. The key wording in the guidance is “single functional or commercial unit”. Therefore a single functional or commercial electronic product placed on the market would not be a fixed installation, and would be regarded as EEE and in scope, because a fixed installation is deemed to be a combination of products and systems or parts some of which may be electronic products and others not.
For further information contact Strateco.
The Environment Agency (EA) has produced draft guidance for Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) for use by EA officers when auditing – either under the WEEE Regulations or under Pollution, Prevention and Control (PPC) measures.
The Guidance includes the definition and composition of small mixed WEEE (SMW), the Permitting and Treatment requirements for SMW using Best Available Treatment Recovery and Recycling Techniques (BATRRT), Hazardous Waste Coding (including batteries) and Storage and Handling standards for SMW together with a site inspection checklist.
Copies can be obtained by contacting Strateco.
David Burton, Chairman and Managing Director of Strateco and Project Director of B2B Compliance, has been invited onto the BIS WEEE Working Group intended to provide input through transposition of the recast WEEE Directive.
He responded “ One of the priority issues raised by BIS relates to the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ and the compliance ‘price’ paid by UK Producers – I can openly say that we predicted this inevitable conflict between those who hold the waste and those who need it recycling way back during early consultations in 2004. There are some major hurdles to overcome and the key will be in creating a system which is less complicated than the current system but not open to legal challenges. The forthcoming imposition of increased collection targets covering both B2C and B2B sectors could result in a mad scramble for collections or, worse still, a separate marketplace for so-called evidence, unless sensible and pragmatic approaches are taken”.
The first meeting of the WEEE Working Group will be held on 8th October and will look at solutions to the issues raised by the Recast Directive and the Red Tape challenge with a particular emphasis on developing ideas or changes to the UK system that would address the issues arising from the Red Tape Challenge.
Michael Fallon MP has been named as the new minister responsible for WEEE at BIS, replacing outgoing Minister Mark Prisk, who has held the role since 2010. This change was part of the government’s recent cabinet reshuffle.
Michael’s new role will see him given responsibility for BIS’s drive to cut red tape for businesses, which will include plans to overhaul the UK’s WEEE sector and make the system ‘more transparent’ for producers of electrical equipment. He will also oversee the development of new legislation transposing the Recast WEEE Directive.
The European Commission has sent out a discussion paper on the review of the Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations for televisions and on the draft Regulation on electronic displays, including computer monitors.
To assist in developing the UK Government response, stakeholders are invited to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting “Television Working Document Comments” by Friday 14th September. The document can be viewed by clicking here.
WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme) have recently released a summary of key findings following their research into the recovery and disposal of WEEE in the UK. The document reviews the current situation for the recovery of WEEE and the potential opportunities to advance WEEE recovery in the future. The changing WEEE landscape and how the recovery of WEEE material can be maximised is also discussed.
To view Wrap’s key findings please click on the following link http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/WEEE%20recovery%20in%20the%20UK.pdf
The Environment Agencies and Industry WEEE Liaison Group will be holding a meeting on the 19th September to follow up agreed actions from the March meeting (the June meeting being cancelled). These include actions for the Environment Agencies to identify why 492 companies failed to renew registration and to confirm the processes to identify companies that drop out and to explain why there were 79 resubmissions of data by Producer Compliance Schemes following closure of the Settlement Centre and issuing of the first of the Schemes’ preliminary obligations.