The new UK WEEE Regulations
The WEEE regulations 2013 have now been laid before parliament.
As expected, they contain some important changes:
- LED light sources (which include LED lamps and LED luminaires) are put in the same category as gas discharge lamps. This will avoid the risk of an orphan waste stream as gas discharge lamps are replaced by LED lamps, and increasingly by LED luminaires.
- Small Producers (companies placing less than 5 tonnes of equipment on the market) now have a low cost option of registering direct with the Environment Agency for just £30 per annum.
- The system for household WEEE will now be based upon a target for Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs), and will include the option of paying a compliance fee if a PCS has not met the target. This means that PCSs are no longer forced to purchase recycling evidence from over-collecting schemes. Furthermore, PCSs will know their target early in the compliance year, which will help them to plan their collection .
There is a small but significant change to the way the new WEEE regulations will operate for non-household equipment. The new regulations now make it clear that Producers may only use “alternative arrangements” where there is a direct agreement between the Producer and the business end user. Such alternative arrangements were used to pass responsibility for financing collection and treatment costs onto the business end user.
Under the new regulations, Producers cannot pass this duty to business end users if sales go through intermediaries (eg Wholesalers or Contractors). This will help to close a loophole which some have used to avoid their WEEE financing obligations. This is of particular significance to the lighting industry, where many sales are through intermediaries.