Last year Bamboo Distribution followed closely the WEEE fee proposals. Particularly given that this was the first time the scheme had been administered by an external organisation (whilst reputable accountancy firm Mazers handled overall supervision.)

After careful deliberation the JTA (the Joint Trade Association), the umbrella organisation for the ERP, Recolight and Repic were selected by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for their proposal in how to regulate the WEEE Scheme. They pushed for producer compliance schemes (PCSs) to be charged a compliance fee for failure to reach recycling targets.

This was meant as a fairer way of administrating the system. A precisely calculated formula detailed the amount PCSs, who failed to reach their target could pay rather than having bigger PCSs sell off excess WEEE at a profit. The amount was calculated on a sliding scale; the further a PCS from its target; the more it was charged. This was calculated using the average cost of transport and treatment for each stream.  JTA estimate they helped to save £18 million for the UK WEE system.

However, the methodology that subscribes how the compliance fee is collected is reviewed annually, and once again this year various stakeholders forwarding their proposals. The JTA submitted along with Valpak and ‘seven scheme’ group including Advantage Waste Brokers, Dataserv Group, DHL WEEE Compliance, Veolia WEEE Compliance, Wastepack/Electrolink WeeeCare and WE3 Compliance.

JTA’s proposal was similar to its suggestions of 2014 with a few amendments. The aim being to penalise those PCSs over reliant on paying the compliance fee instead of focusing on reaching their targets. It suggests that any PCSs using the compliance fee scheme for more than 10% of their objective would be forced to help support the administrative costs of the 2015 compliance fee. This should hopefully push them towards finding a workable way of recycling rather than simply paying towards the scheme.  

Meanwhile, the proposals of both Valpack and the ‘seven scheme’ hope to introduce a base fee for those PCSs overly reliant on the compliance fee. Valpack suggests a one off payment of £2,000 for using the scheme with the following costs increasing proportionately to the shortfall of each individual PCS. Similarly the ‘seven scheme’ proposal pushes towards introducing a 10% base cost that would be independent of the shortfall. The ‘Seven Scheme’ are somewhat critical of the 2014 JTA scheme stating it was a, “manipulation by those PCS intending to use the fee as an alternative means of compliance.”

BIS has now started consultations, and until the 15th November will be hoping to hear from producers, waste management companies, PCSs, as well as local authorities over which fee proposal should be taken forward from February 2016. BIS hopes to receive opinions raging from whether the Secretary of State should approve a compliance fee for 2016 as well as if the proposals meet their evaluation criteria. Comments that will be of immense interest to Bamboo Distribution moving forward into 2016 and seeing the altered attitudes of different organisations and if, and how, changing trends have affected opinions on salvage management.

Bamboo distribution will be monitoring the situation closely in the coming months. Certainly, it will be interesting to see the direction of the debate. Particularly if more pressure is put on PCSs to recycle more and rely less on the compliance fee and the ramifications this could have on current supply.