Confusion over WEEE Regulations cleared up

A High Court judgement ends dispute over Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling regulations.

Posted on 10 August 2009

A High Court judgement ends dispute over Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling regulations.

The European WEEE directive which sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods, ensures that manufacturers join compliance schemes. The schemes are operated by companies working to collection obligations. The companies arrange for the collection of waste appliances and then produce evidence that they have been recycled.
 
Earlier this year the UK’s largest scheme, REPIC Ltd, began judicial review proceedings against the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and the Environment Agency after complaining that systematic flaws allow other schemes to over-collected WEEE with a view to selling surplus evidence to competitors at an inflated rate.
 
REPIC claimed there is simply not enough WEEE to go round and, as a result, it is being unfairly threatened with Government enforcement action. The company argued that it has been forced to pay "ransom" money to other company schemes it said are engaged in large-scale "over-collection" of redundant goods, in return for "evidence notes" proving to the Government that clean up obligations have been met.  
 
However the judge, Mr Justice Wyn Williams, ruled that BERR had lawfully transferred the European WEEE Directive into UK Law.
 
David Elvin, QC for the BERR accepted that large-scale over-collection may not be compatible with regulations but pointed out:
 
“The trading of notes in fact ensures that, where there has been non-compliance with the obligation to collect, there is nonetheless compliance with the obligation in the producers to finance an amount equivalent to the WEEE for which they are responsible.”
 
It does seem however, that the Environment Agency will exert more pressure on companies to produce more viable compliance plans for 2010 to ensure a reduction of intentional over-collection.
 

Posted under Environmental Regulations and Legislation and Waste Management on 10 August 2009