Talking responsibility for WEEE
Resource dials up some electronics producers to see how they view the UK producer responsibility system and what a more circular future will entail.
Based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, extended producer responsibility (EPR) maintains that responsibility for the sustainable and safe handling of products and packaging at end of life (EOL) should remain with producers (and importers and retailers), rather than being passed on to government, the public and the resource industry.
In the UK, the current producer responsibility rules for electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) require UK producers that place over five tonnes of EEE onto the market every year to sign up to a producer compliance scheme (PCS). Twenty-nine PCSs have been approved by the Environment Agency for 2016, and most sort out the collection of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directly, and every quarter producers pay their schemes for the recovery and treatment of a set proportion of the weight of material they put on the market.
But exactly how well does this system work? We canvassed a number of EEE producers to see what they think of producer responsibility in the UK, and what the future holds in a more circular economy.