Harmonisation of packaging waste, WEEE and batteries welcomed

Local authorities may have freedom to deal with WEEE themselves, should they wish to benefit from any positive value

Local authorities may have freedom to deal with WEEE themselves, should they wish to benefit from any positive value

The UK government is to review proposals to harmonise the producer responsibility regimes for packaging, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and batteries – as part of its bid to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses.

A discussion document on the proposals was issued jointly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Irish Assembly in April, outlining 21 areas where it was felt that a greater degree of coherence could be achieved across the regimes.
The proposals are a part of the government’s plan to cut red tape and bring the producer compliance regimes more closely in line with each other
Responses to the plans were published in early September, showing that the majority of the proposals had the support of the 75 responding stakeholders, which included compliance schemes, producers, trade bodies and reprocessors.
Dr Philip Morton, CEO of REPIC, the largest WEEE producer compliance scheme in the UK commented: “Repic welcomes the overwhelming multi-stakeholder support for positive change that is evident from the summary of responses to the WEEE consultation, published by BIS last week. The responses make it clear that option 1, the status quo is not sustainable.
“It is fantastic to see so much alignment between the various stakeholders and their support for options 3 and 4. It is particularly pleasing to note that after producers, the next largest set of responses in support of change to options 3 and 4 came from local authorities and their representative organisations.
“The local authorities collection network is a vital part of the system and we understand and respect the local authorities’ perspective. Options 3 and 4 give local authorities freedom of choice to deal with WEEE themselves, should they wish to benefit, for example, from any WEEE with a positive value. At the same time, these options for change both embed a guarantee that any WEEE local authorities do not wish to deal with will be collected free of charge, regardless of location or targets.
“We look forward to working with BIS and all stakeholders to ensure a smooth and seamless transition to a new, more equitable system beginning in 2014.”

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