The eleventh hour

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The last few months has seen a flurry of activity in the UK regarding the implementation of the WEEE Regulations and the pace isn’t slowing down, according to Dr Philip Morton, chief executive of Repic.

Even though many have failed to take the necessary steps to comply with the new Regulations that became law on the 2 January, the Repic team, like many other producer compliance schemes has been busy behind the scenes. From gaining approval from the Environment Agency, to signing up members to its scheme before the 15 March deadline and now focusing on finalising arrangements to collect, treat and recycle WEEE.

As a team we felt the whole registration process was handled exceptionally well. Thanks to ERIC, our unique electronic recycling information system, the team were able to process all our members’ data quickly and effectively. Over 110 members were signed up before the deadline, confirming Repic as the largest B2C producer compliance scheme, by weight.

Although the registration deadline for producers has now passed, many are still unaware of the new legislation and have failed to sign up to any of the 37 approved B2C or B2B producer compliance schemes.

If anyone has missed the deadline our advice is not to panic, just make sure you get into a scheme as soon as possible – signing up late is better than not signing up at all.

Still time to act

Repic, like many of the other compliance schemes, is still accepting new members and would welcome any producers still without a scheme to get in touch, rather than face prosecution.

Early indications from the Environment Agency showed that over 3,000* businesses have signed up so far, which is encouraging news but that still leaves a large number of companies not yet registered with any scheme.

Not only will these companies risk prosecution from the Environment Agency should they not comply, it has also meant that some of the smaller compliance schemes have been left without any members or with only a few, so there is a real risk that some are therefore not going to survive.

Since the demise of the proposed allocation centre, every registered producer compliance scheme must now arrange its own collection contracts with each local authority. Therefore, those schemes that can offer to collect, any and all WEEE made freely available in all categories, will be most favoured. Unfortunately this could ultimately spell the end for those smaller specialist schemes that haven’t attracted the market share they were expecting.

Repic’s agenda

Right now, Repic like many of the other producer compliance schemes, is in active discussions with all relevant stakeholders regarding access to WEEE, including local authorities and waste disposal authorities. Repic understands that the authorities have their own internal procedures to comply with and is working in accordance with these. Repic is backed by many of the UK’s leading EEE producers and due to the scale of its members activities is able to collect all five WEEE streams from whole waste disposal authorities.

While Repic is actively seeking to work in partnership with many waste disposal authorities and local authorities, the consortium still remains committed to the idea of a fair allocation process for local authority DCFs, and to working with other compliance schemes to establish an allocation centre if that is what is wanted in the future.

For now, Repic’s focus will remain on securing partnerships with local authorities and waste disposal authorities, as well as firming up arrangements with service providers, so we are ready to roll on the 1 July. It seems hard to believe that even at this late hour, despite our best efforts to raise awareness of the impact the Directive will have on retailers and producers, many are still not compliant, failing to understand the impact the new legislation will have on them.
*Telephone survey conducted by the Environment Agency on 29 March 2007

The WEEE Directive

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2006 became law on the 2 January 2007, making producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) responsible for paying for the treatment and recycling of products at the end of their life. It affects any business that manufactures, brands or imports EEE as well as businesses that sell EEE or store, treat or dismantle WEEE within the EU. It will affect businesses that have WEEE to dispose of and the public who will have more opportunities to reuse, recycle and recover these products.

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