Retailers have expressed concern that the WEEE Distributor Take-Back Scheme is at risk, as a result of delays caused by the UK General Election in December.
Under the WEEE Regulations, electronic retailers can meet their requirement to fund the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by either offering in-store take back of WEEE or by joining a Distributor Take Back Scheme (DTS). The DTS allows the money paid by participating retailers to be used to support infrastructure and projects aimed at raising WEEE collection rates.
The next phase of the scheme will not be approved by the government before the 31st December 2019. This phase will require, by law, all distributors to offer like for like in-store take back of WEEE from 1st January in the new year. With the current DTS having over 1,200 members, concerns have been raised that this leaves little time to put suitable systems into place to ensure compliance.
Previously, the first four stages of the DTS have allowed a funding stream for local authorities, ensuring provision for retailers where in-store take back would be difficult and moving the UK closer to the collection targets, set at 65 per cent for 2019. The new phase suggests it will “…provide a financial encouragement to DTS members to expand the nature and scope of their in-store take-back facilities to develop best practice collections, as well as increased communication with the public about WEEE recycling.”
The proposals for stage 5 have faced criticism for not going far enough to incentivise take-back schemes in store to encourage households to hand over their electronic goods, particularly small WEEE, especially since the 65 per cent target is not looking likely to be met.
Vikkie Fitzgerald, Clarity Environmental WEEE compliance scheme manager, stated “While the government conducts its review of the entire WEEE system next year, the proposed ‘interim phase 5’ DTS will be ongoing for 2 years. We have already started conversations with our producer retailers who are likely to be affected by this, offering our own in-house take-back services. If you feel you would benefit from a review of your own take-back arrangements, I would be delighted to hear from you.”
Since the UK government’s announcement on the Waste and Resources Strategy changes, all producer responsibility regulations will be reviewed, with major reforms likely.
Clarity’s WEEE compliance scheme provides its members with low cost and simple compliance, alongside unrivalled member support. Sign up to our newsletter to recieve regular updates on regulation changes and keep up with the latest industry developments. If you would like to discuss compliance with the WEEE regulations, get in touch with a member of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0845 129 7177.