What was discussed at the recent roundtable event aimed at celebrating the WEE Regulations 2013

It’s been a year since the recast WEEE Directive was implemented. An All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) event that took place at the Houses of Parliament in March, considered the effects of the recast Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Bamboo Distributions explores what was discussed at the APSRG event.

The All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group event took place on March 17, 2015. It was hosted by REPIC, the UK’s biggest producer compliance scheme for the recycling and collection of WEEE.

According to a report published on Resource, the panel in attendance at the event was made up of stakeholders and experts in the WEEE market, who shared their views on the new WEEE regulations have affected their business since the new system was implemented.

The WEEE Regulations 2013

The new WEEE Regulations were enforced in the UK on January 1, 2014. Aiming to improve the old system, the Regulations have introduced three key changes:

  • Introducing a known tonnage target for WEEE collections
  • Implementing a compliance fee as an alternative method of compliance if a producer scheme falls short of its target
  • Eradicating evidence notes that producer compliance schemes could trade between themselves

The meeting was chaired by Barry Sheerman, MP of Huddersfield. In his introduction to the ‘One Year On’ event, Sheerman told attendees that the recast regulations “couldn’t have been worse than the original.”

Nods of approval

As the Resource report states, those in attendance at the event seemed to agree that the recast has definitely resulted in improvements being made to the country’s WEEE collection and recycling system.

Dr. Philip Morton, Chief Executive of REPIC, spoke of how the Regulations are working.
“The first year of the new regulations has generally worked very well.”

Morton referred to a recent statement released by Matthew Hancock, MP Minister for Business Enterprise and Energy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which highlighted there had been an £18 million saving in the market, meaning that the costs producers now pay are more in-keeping with the true costs of the recycling and recovery of WEEE.

Morton continued that the roundtable event was a great way to mark the end of the first year but he also noted that “It is important for everyone involved in the UK WEEE system to maintain clear channels of communication, so we know what is working and what isn’t.”
‘Much to improve’

Stuart Edwards, the BIS representative shared much of Morton’s thinking, stating that by meeting the overall 2014 target and saving £18 million for producers, the WEEE Regulations recast has delivered “some positive results.”
However, Edwards also said there was “much to improve” and the priority is to ensure a strategy is in place that means all materials are retained in the UK economy. Edwards also highlighted the importance of reducing the administrative burden on transfer facilities.

Simon Eves, Environmental Affairs Manager at Panasonic UK, said that BIS would announcing the 2015 targets for WEEE recycling fairly soon. The targets will be based on the amount of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market during 2014.

In the event’s conclusion, Sheerman spoke of the growing concerns about the fragile condition of the environment.
“In light of increasing concerns around resource scarcity and security, and the fragility of our environment, it is vital that both the waste and resources industry and the manufacturing industry continue to work together to make sure that legislation such as the WEEE Directive are implemented effectively and reviewed continuously.”
More information about the new 2013 WEEE Regulations can be found on the Government website.

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