WEEE POPs further guidance published

The Environment Agency has released updated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) guidance documents for AATFs, T11 sites, collectors and waste companies that manage waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

In summer 2019, the Environment Agency outlined its position on the treatment of POPs used in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), brought about by a recast of EU regulation.

Plastic components, cables, and printed circuit boards found in many categories of WEEE contain high levels of hazardous chemicals and POPs. The presence of these chemicals significantly affects how compliance with legal requirements that apply to waste electrical devices, their components, and wastes from their treatment will be achieved.

The guidance released details that all WEEE, apart from large non-hazardous white goods, will have to be classed as hazardous according to the EWC codes highlighted here. Fridges, freezers, chillers and air conditioning units remain hazardous but non-POPs waste.

For the reuse sector, the guidance states that pre-2009 WEEE cannot be reused and post-2009 WEEE can be reused, but only if all the relevant requirements for reusing WEEE have been met.

Accompanied by a letter circulated from the Environment Agency, there is an acknowledgement that many of the affected parties will be continuing to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 on their business and this will be considered when reviewing and assessing compliance with the legal requirements, alongside the proactive steps operators have taken to achieve compliance.

The provisional WEEE figures suggest that collection targets have been missed for the second quarter of this year, with lockdown restrictions having a significant impact on collections and most household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) being closed to the public.

Vikkie Fitzgerald, Head of WEEE at Clarity Environmental, said: “The latest work on compliance around POPs is highly significant, particularly for AATFs, who will be seeing substantial cost increases of handling WEEE on behalf of producer compliance schemes. These costs ultimately will be passed down to producers.  The reuse sector has also been seeing the impact of the POPs guidance for some time now. I want to ensure our members are aware of the legislation and will continue to work closely with our WEEE producers to ensure they understand how it may affect their business.”

If you have any questions about POPs and your compliance with the WEEE regulations, please get in touch with Vikkie Fitzgerald

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