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Joint Trade Association backs WEEE changes

May 20, 2013

UK government’s decision to make changes to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation endorsed by Joint Trade Association (JTA).

The JTA, a group of eight leading trade associations in the electrotechnical sector, has announced that it welcomes the UK government’s proposed changes to the WEEE legislation reported by The Recycler last week, claiming that it will help to generate revenues and other benefits for Local Authorities in the country.

One of the benefits the changes could bring, noted by Gerry O’Donnell, Head of Corporate Strategy and Government Affairs at Philips UK, is the ability for Local Authorities to retain WEEE streams that contain value, which he said “is a great opportunity for Local Authorities to be financially rewarded for the WEEE they collect.

“Enshrined in legislation this becomes a genuine and reliable income stream for Authorities.  But they also have the alternative of opting into producer funded collections – totally free of charge.  In this way, they can either generate revenues, or get all collection and treatment costs covered.  It is clearly a win-win situation.”

Denver Hewlett, Chief Executive of Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, agreed; adding that “as material scarcity increases, the value to Local Authorities is likely to increase.  That creates a continuing and growing opportunity for them to obtain revenues from the positive value WEEE streams they collect”.

The changes come following an impact assessment conducted by the government which Steve Beaman, General Manager at LG Electronics UK Ltd., said was able to show “that it is intermediary companies that retain most of the profits that arise from evidence trading”. He continued that “introducing a system that prevents guaranteed middle-man mark up will not penalise Local Authorities. Local Authorities are protected in that any negative value waste streams will always be paid for by producers. The Authority simply decides annually which waste streams it wishes to retain and which to pass to producers”.

Joe O’Sullivan, Director of Supply Chain at BSH Home Appliances Limited suggested that the funds generated by the changes could go towards “investing in Local Authority Infrastructure”, which he said would be a “prime candidate” for the funds.

Meanwhile, the needs of Local Authorities were highlighted by Matthew King, Head of Waste Management at Hertfordshire County Council, who said that they “need confidence that the WEEE we collect is treated in an auditable fashion. We also need a guarantee of free of charge WEEE collections. To also have the freedom to opt out of the system, and instead keep incomes from any WEEE with a positive value would be a very positive development”.

He concluded that options three and four proposed by the government  “will both give us this flexibility”.


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