WEEE: mandatory takeback requirements for wholesalers
From the beginning of January 2021, most wholesalers and retailers selling new electrical products that could be used by consumers (and that includes virtually all lamps) must provide an instore takeback service, when they sell new products. The Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS) used to allow distributors to opt out of this obligation. The DTS ceased to operate from end 2020.
The legal obligation to collect only applies where a customer buys a similar product to that being returned. However, the challenge of enforcing this strictly probably means many will simply offer the service to all customers
The new requirements affect virtually all companies – but with an opt out for those with a total turnover less than £100K. Arrangements for online retailers will be put in place by the end of 2021.
Many UK wholesalers already benefit from the free lamp recycling service offered by Recolight, but to be compliant, they may also need to request a container for general waste electricals too.
For several years, The UK’s recycling rates for waste electricals and lamps have stalled. It is well established that to increase rates, consumers must have access to convenient drop off points. But until now, an opt out meant that virtually all retailers could avoid their legal obligation to provide instore collection. The removal of that opt out at the end of this year should do much to increase WEEE and lamp collections.