Guidance on WEEE issued by DTI

Guidance on the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations was issued by the Department of Trade and Industry on Wednesday

The regulations require producers of electrical and electronic goods to assume legal and financial responsibility for recycling old equipment. Most of their provisions come into effect on 1 July.

The guidance, which is non-statutory, sets out how producers will have to meet their obligations. It also explains the roles of retailers and distributors of electrical goods, local authorities, consumers and charities.

The differences for producers of household and business-to-business goods are spelled out. For example, producers of business equipment will be able to sign contracts with their customers passing on responsibility for recycling the equipment.

The DTI also gives more details of the “settlement centre” that will allow producer compliance schemes to trade evidence of recycling. Any local authority that has not signed an agreement with a compliance scheme will also be able to use the centre to recoup costs incurred transporting and treating WEEE.

The guidance builds on a draft issued last July. However, the DTI says it is still “not definitive” and will be updated in light of any comments received. The department will also establish an independent advisory body whose remit will include making recommendations on improving the guidance.

Charities were amongst those to welcome the guidance. The DTI has decided to encourage the reuse of whole appliances by including it in the returns made by compliance schemes. However, any charity that wants to refurbish equipment will have to become an approved authorised treatment facility or approved exporter.

The Furniture Reuse Network said it is coordinating a network of reuse centres, around 30 of which will offer a “hub and spoke” infrastructure to aid collection and treatment of equipment.