Recolight welcomes final text of the recast WEEE directive

A final version of the text of the WEEE directive was agreed at a meeting of the Council, Parliament and Commission on 20th December. Recolight has welcomed the text which includes a number of compromise positions. BIS have indicated that the new directive should enter UK law during 2014.

For the lighting industry, there are several positive outcomes, and one or two which raise interesting questions:

LEDs in scope

LED lamps are now specifically named in the directive, which avoids the current confusion of LED being in scope in some countries, and out of scope in others.

National definition of producers

It is good to note that the text accepts that a national definition of producers should remain – meaning that Producers will continue to register in each country in which they place product on the market. Whilst at first glance this might appear contradictory to the spirit of the single market, it is actually a sensible approach. It will aid better enforcement (how can UK enforcement agencies take action if a company is not registered in the UK?), and also helps ensure that finance is available in the country where WEEE will arise.

Higher targets for WEEE collections

The directive contains much higher targets for WEEE collections. Currently the target sits at 4kg of WEEE per head of population, which the UK comfortably exceeds. In the new directive, targets rise to 45% of put on market after four years, and then to 65% after seven years. Whilst achievement of these targets, particularly a 65% target, will be challenging, we think it is right that collection targets are more stretching, given the hazardous nature of many lamps.

Recolight encourages higher collection targets, and also is pleased to note that the commission may propose other targets for mercury containing lamps, and some other product categories. It is also interesting to note that the text gives governments the opportunity to use a “WEEE generated” method of calculating targets after seven years – which attempts to assess the actual quantity of WEEE that should arise. Given that this method of calculation should take into account a range of factors, such as product lifetime, this is likely to be more relevant than a “put on market” target, and Recolight would support its adoption in the UK.

Retailers to collect small WEEE

The agreed text will require retailers with a floor space larger than 400m2 to collect “small WEEE”. Small WEEE is defined as products with no dimension bigger than 25cm. That means we can expect to see far more retailers collecting CFLs by 2014. Homebase, Sainsbury’s, Robert Dyas and Ikea already collect CFLs. There is a derogation allowing retailers to avoid this obligation if they can show that other collection mechanisms are as effective.

Recolight Marketing and Communications

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