Defra releases WEEE consultation document

The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has released the Government’s response to proposed amendments to the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013.

The consultation, which was held in October 2017, invited comments on three main areas.

1) Proposals for the implementation of ‘Open Scope’, in which all items of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) would, in future, fall within the scope of the regulations, unless subject to a specific exemption or exclusion.
2) Amendments to the obligations of producer compliance schemes to collect WEEE from local authorities under Regulation 34 (a mechanism that ensures collections from local authorities are carried out free of charge even where there is no demand for the items).
3) Views on whether the 2013 WEEE Regulations have delivered the Government’s policy objectives to improve the environment at a proportionate cost to businesses.

The consultation document confirms that the Government will retain the current system, with the 14 categories remaining in place, but with new flexibility to allocate products that have previously been out of scope to one of the 14 categories. The Government plans to bring amending legislation into force from 1 January 2019.

The document also confirms that the WEEE Regulations will be amended to introduce a mandatory requirement for producer compliance schemes to join the producer balancing scheme.
This will ensure that Regulation 34 requests are fulfilled and collection services are provided to local authorities where there is no collection contract in place.

Comply with Clarity signed up to the PBS initiative when it was formed last year and we fully support the decision to make it compulsory for compliance schemes to join.

Vikkie Fitzgerald, WEEE Compliance Scheme Manager, said: “We believe the PBS supports the spirit of the UK Regulations by giving local authorities, and therefore households, the collections they require. It also limits the financial burden of Regulation 34 to both members and compliance schemes. We are pleased that Defra has made the decision to make it a mandatory requirement as we believe it allows a fairer approach to collecting WEEE, with all of the producer compliance schemes sharing the load.”

Vikkie added that Clarity is also in support of Defra’s decision to retain the current system of 14 WEEE and EEE categories: “We believe this to be a sensible solution, and was the option that was chosen by Clarity, on behalf of member feedback, during the consultation.”

Vikkie concluded that the selection of responses published in reference to the third consultation question were food for thought. “It was interesting to read industry views around how the regulations could be further improved or challenged, particularly around free-riders and civil sanctions. We operate across all three producer responsibility regimes, and there are vast differences in how non-compliance is regulated. We would support a system that mirrors the packaging regulation’s civil sanctions process.”

Keeping our members informed

All of our WEEE compliance members have been contacted to advise them of the release of the consultation document. You can view the consultation document, with full information on the proposals, on our website.

Comply with Clarity

Clarity's WEEE compliance scheme provides its members with low cost and simple compliance, alongside unrivalled member support. If you would like to discuss compliance with the WEEE regulations, get in touch with a member of our team at weee@clarityenv.eu or on 0845 129 7177.

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