The British government is pleased with how the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) disposal scheme is working out, a year on from its inception. Collection has exceeded the EU target by 2kg per person, which is pretty good considering how poorly the UK usually fares with waste disposal and recyling.
The government has adopted a softly-softly approach to date, and notes that no electronics producers were punished for non-compliance in the first year. But in a speech this week to WEEE stakeholders, Department of Business Minister Malcolm Wicks called on electronics vendors to raise their game:
"I cannot and will not let any producer compliance scheme running with its own agenda threaten the whole system and we will be working with the enforcement authorities to ensure that those that wish to distort the system are dealt with effectively."
That's not quite as ominous as it sounds. In other words, electronics vendors should submit paperwork on time and should not seek to make profits at the expense of waste disposal efficiencies. Otherwise the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency will come a-knocking.
Under UK law the "responsibility for financing the treatment and recycling of separately collected household WEEE will be shared out between all producers of household EEE, depending on their market share," So the first prosecutions - and it's more a case of when those happen, not if - will show how producers can game the system.
Wicks expects the vendors to share best practice techniques and wants to get collection up from 4kg per person to 10kg. He also revealed government plans for an awareness campaign to encourage consumers to separate electrical and electronic waste from other household waste.
More here. ®