Critics Say WEEE Isn't Working; Government Disagrees

Lora Bentley

It's been a year since the European Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive came into force in the UK, but critics say it isn't working. According to BusinessGreen.com, several compliance schemes are on the verge of collapsing, and few businesses are following through with compliance initiatives designed to encourage recycling and reuse of such equipment.

 

Forty compliance schemes currently exist, the story says, but only two have successfully completed the first year of compliance. What's the problem? A couple things, apparently.

 

First, the compliance schemes, also known as "waste-handling firms," aren't reporting their recycling data to the government, which makes it difficult for the government to place a value on the equipment recycled. That, in turn, makes it difficult to determine how much the polluting companies should pay the recycling schemes for taking care of their waste equipment for them. This, insiders say, defeats the whole point of the directive.

 

Secondly, there are still a lot of unknowns in the process -- especially where local governments are concerned. It's unclear which equipment from schools, hospitals and other public organizations local governments are responsible for recycling and how they should go about doing that.

 

But the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) says WEEE implementation is going exactly as it should. BusinessGreen.com reports:

However, BERR defended WEEE's record, claiming that the first compliance period had always been intended to develop the necessary infrastructure and achieve EU collection targets, while in the second compliance period, it will work to fine tune the process and "increase consumer awareness on how to dispose of electronic waste."


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