BIS announces £775,000 WEEE fund for local authorities to boost e-waste recycling

In a bid to increase e-waste recycling in the UK, over a quarter of a million pounds is being allocated to support councils seeking to improve the re-use and recycling rates of unwanted electrical goods.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has announced it will make up to £775,000 available by retailers, manufacturers and suppliers of electronic equipment as part of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Compliance Fee (WEEE) and the Distributor Take-Back Scheme (DTS).

The new funding is aimed at increasing the collection and recycling of unwanted electronic items. According to a report in Lets Recycle, £375,000 of the £775,000 has been distributed to the WEEE Compliance Fee Fund and the remaining £400,000 for the Distributor Take-Back Scheme.

This is the first time that funds from the WEEE Compliance Fee have been distributed. Local authorities can make an application to receive up to a £40,000 slice of the fund, whilst larger consortiums can apply for up to £100,000.

The compliance fee was introduced in 2014 following concerns that the former system was not only too expensive but potentially benefitted certain sectors over others. The compliance fee is enforced on schemes which are not able to collect adequate evidence of the recycling of a specific WEEE item. The fee requires businesses to fund the collection and recycling of all WEEE equipment they put on the market.

Speaking of how the fund will help decrease the amount of e-waste reaching landfills, Anna Soubry, Britain’s Business Minister, said:

“We have around £1bn worth of electrical equipment in our homes which we no longer use but which still has real value.”

“This business-led fund can help drive up levels of collection, re-use and recycling of unwanted electrical equipment. The fund will also help divert electrical waste from landfill and reduce waste by promoting the re-use of electrical appliances,” Soubry continued.

The announcement of the funding was welcomed by the Joint Trade Associates (JTA), which believes the subsidy is testament of the effectiveness of the WEEE scheme. As Richard Huges, the JTA chairman said:

“The funds allocated will provide invaluable support to local authorities to improve their WEEE collections. Following the news this March that the UK met its 2014 WEEE collection targets, it is very pleasing to see yet another sign that the UK’s new WEEE system is working well.”

As Green Business informs, local authorities are able to apply for the fund until October 30, 2015. Councils can either bid individually or as part of a larger consortium.