Resource Use

BIS releases WEEE guidance

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has released ‘government guidance notes’ on the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

The ‘WEEE Regulations 2013: Government Guidance Notes’ document has been released to outline how those involved in the sale, purchase and disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment, will be affected by the new regulations – set to come in force from 1 January 2014.

Most significantly, the regulations implement a collection target and compliance fee to finance the collection of household WEEE. This was ‘Option 3’ considered in the ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): implementing the recast Directive and UK system changes’ consultation, published earlier this year.

The decision means that PCSs will no longer trade evidence notes, in a measure aimed at reducing imbalances in the amount of WEEE collected by these schemes, which has been distorting the costs. Instead, compliance schemes will be set targets for amounts to be collected, according to the proportion of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put onto market by member producers. Significantly, those PCSs not collecting their target amounts will now instead be required to pay a compliance fee per tonne, instead of trading evidence notes. However, schemes will still be in a position to agree contracts with one another ‘in advance of collections’.

The proposed regulations also require producers to join a PCS, except those producing under five tonnes of EEE, which are now exempt from the regulatory burden. These steps are an outcome from the Government’s Red Tape Challenge.

Key points

Looking to producer compliance schemes (PCSs), which offer administrative and practical services to producers to ‘discharge their obligations under the WEEE Regulations’, the guidance outlines that all schemes register all their members every compliance period with the appropriate authority, paying the appropriate annual registration charges. In doing so, PCS’s must also report household (quarterly) and non-household (annually) EEE put on the market by members.

They must also qualify the amounts of WEEE collected at designated collection facilities (DCFs) or received directly from distributors quarterly basis.

Further information required from PCSs includes the amounts of WEEE delivered to approved authorised treatment facilities (AATFs) or approved exporters (AEs) for treatment, again on a quarterly basis.

Evidence must be kept to demonstrate correct practices in line with the ‘Declaration of Compliance’ whilst payment of a compliance fee may be necessary if insufficient household WEEE evidence notes have been obtained to meet collective the obligations of their members. Details on how this fee will be calculated has not yet been disclosed, but BIS says that targets will be ‘calculated and notified to a PCS by 31 March of the relevant compliance year by the appropriate agency’.

Whilst the overall collection target for each compliance period will be set by government, individual PCS targets will be adjusted either ‘upwards’ or ‘downwards’.

Targets will be adjusted ‘upwards’ to take account of any scheme members that registers late (and whose data had not therefore been taken into account when establishing targets for individual schemes) and ‘downwards’ on a pro-rata basis to take account of any PCS members who cease trading altogether during a compliance year.

PCSs are permitted to contract with each other to assist in the necessary collections to achieve individual PCS collection targets.

They are also specifically required to finance the cost of clearance and treatment of WEEE from local authority DCF sites on receiving a request from the site.

Released as ‘interim guidance’, BIS has said that the document will be reviewed once a final version of draft European Commission WEEE guidance is published.

Read the ‘WEEE Regulations 2013: Government Guidance Notes’ or find out more how producer compliance scheme ERP will be adjusting to the new regulations in Resource 74.