Low government targets for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) have caused turmoil in the industry, particularly in relation to local authority collections.
The low targets set by DEFRA have meant that many producer compliance schemes (PCS) have already collected their required tonnages for 2016, or are forecast to do so, and don’t require any further WEEE evidence.
As a result, a number of local authorities are struggling to get WEEE collected from Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Last month, Bexley Council became the first to invoke Regulation 34 of the WEEE Regulations which forces a PCS (Veolia in this case) to collect the WEEE from its HWRCs after it was unable to secure a collection contract. A number of local authorities around the UK are expected to follow suit over the summer.
The looming problem has led to PCSs joining forces to create a ‘PCS balancing scheme’ which is believed to be near to agreement. The scheme is expected to see signatory PCSs sharing the costs of any Regulation 34 WEEE collections. The finer details of this scheme are as yet unknown but it should lead to local authorities having continuing WEEE services through to the end of 2016.
Russell Hirst, Managing Director, Wiser Recycling says: “Our industry faces an unprecedented level of uncertainty. DEFRA needs to raise the targets at the earliest opportunity to restore demand to the market and confidence in the system”.