BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2007/003)
issued by The Government News Network on 29 June 2007
come into effect on 1 July
New legal obligations on the electrical industry will from Sunday
1 July start to see more waste products recycled and not consigned
to the scrap heap. Last year 2 million tonnes of electrical waste
was generated in the UK alone, enough to fill the new Wembley
Stadium six times over.
The introduction of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
(WEEE) Regulations means that manufacturers, importers and
retailers of domestic appliances, office equipment and other goods
will be required to ensure the proper disposal of old products.
From this Sunday, business and household consumers buying
electrical products, from toasters and computers, through to
mobile phones and televisions, will be offered free take-back of
old products, either in store, through collection or at a local
amenity site thanks to the introduction of these Regulations.
Putting the responsibility on the electrical industry will mean
the eventual recycling of products being considered at design
stage, it will incentivise the industry to provide consumers with
more options for returning old products, it will encourage the
reuse of products and it will help create a valuable market in
In the six-months since the laying of the Regulations, the
Government has worked closely with industry to set up the various
components of a flexible and viable national electrical waste
system. This includes:
* A Distributor Takeback Scheme (operated by Valpak) to provide
retailers with a cost-effective alternative to in-store takeback.
* A network of designated collection facilities (DCFs) with 1,450
collection points nationwide. 1050 are public collection points
and a further 400 are private.
* The approval of 37 producer compliance schemes to administer
the collection, treatment and certification of waste on behalf of producers.
* The appointment of enforcement bodies. The Environment
Agencies will ensure producer compliance, while the Vehicle
Certification Agency will police retailer compliance.
* Approval of 142 approved authorised treatment facilities (AATFs)
The new system offers flexibility for both producers and
retailers to find the best means to meet their obligations.
Producers can either join one of the 37 compliance schemes, or
they can set up their own. Retailers may join the Distributor
Takeback Scheme or they can make their own arrangement via
The Regulations complement and make use of the existing
civic-amenity capacity to handle electronic waste. This is
already one of the most robust in Europe, successfully processing
fridges, televisions and large kitchen appliances for a number of years.
Over the next six months, the Government will continue to support
awareness-raising amongst existing and new producers, to encourage
them to participate fully in the UK WEEE system. As part of this
system we will also be appointing of an independent WEEE Advisory
Body to assess the effectiveness of the Regulations and keep them
The Regulations will be enforced proportionately by the
environment agencies. The priority is to get unregistered
producers into compliance schemes so that they can make an
appropriate contribution to the system. However, enforcement
action will be taken against any business that seeks an advantage
by flouting the rules.
Notes to editors:
1. For more information:
* Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations visit: http://www.dti.gov.uk/innovation/sustainability/weee/page30269.html
* Treatment permitting requirements and waste management
licensing exemptions visit: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/electrical/index.htm
* Environment Agency:
2. The WEEE Directive aims to address the environmental impact
of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and to promote its
separate collection when it becomes waste (WEEE). WEEE is a
priority waste stream for the EU because of its growing volume in
the municipal waste stream and its potential hazardousness
3. The Directive introduces producer responsibility for waste
electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Producers will have to
finance treatment and recycling/recovery of separately collected
WEEE in the UK to specified treatment standards and
recycling/recovery targets. Retailers have an obligation to offer
take-back services to householders. The Directive does not place
any obligations on householders, and they will be not be
prohibited from throwing WEEE away with general domestic rubbish.
It will however encourage more WEEE to be reused or recycled by
ensuring that there is a network of facilities in place where
householders can return their used equipment free of charge.
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
1 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0ET
Enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215
(for those with hearing impairment)