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A WEEE call to potentially unregistered producers

Unregistered producers of electrical and electronic equipment could be getting a call from the Environment Agency as it continues to raise awareness of the WEEE Regulations.

Liz Parkes, Head of Waste at the Environment Agency, said: “Since 1 July, under the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, separately collected waste electrical and electronic equipment has to be treated and recycled with the producers paying the cost.

“The new rules mean that anyone who produces, brands or imports such goods has to be registered with an approved Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS). The data submitted to us by these schemes shows that the major producers have done this. However we are aware there are smaller businesses obligated under the WEEE Regulations who still haven't registered.

“We realise that as with any new legislation, the regulations may be news to many smaller producers. So, as part of a targeted telephone campaign, we will be calling 4,500 companies who might need to be registered.”

A dedicated team of staff will be calling companies who have been identified as potentially being producers to find out if they do need to register. This campaign is part of the Environment Agency's continuing efforts to raise awareness amongst unregistered producers and runs alongside efforts by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR, formerly the DTI), who are also reminding producers of their responsibilities.

Liz Parkes continued: “Our overall priority for 2007 is to ensure those affected by the change in the law are aware of their responsibilities under the new regulations. In the first compliance period, which runs from July to December 2007, we want to help make sure businesses are complying with the new rules.

“However if we find a business has flouted the rules and deliberately avoided registering, we will take enforcement action. These regulations are about protecting our environment and it's important that everyone plays their part.”

The Environment Agency has also published an enforcement policy statement, which outlines how it will deal with any producers, compliance schemes and those treating or exporting WEEE who fail to follow the rules.

With electrical waste now one of the fastest-growing waste streams across Europe – expanding at around three times the rate of general waste – the aim of the regulations is to encourage more recycling, recovery and re-use, and ultimately divert more used goods away from landfill.

They place the responsibility for – and the cost of – reducing environmental impact on those who profit from making the goods in the first place. The more electronics a producer puts on the market, the more WEEE it must ensure is dealt with safely. Producer Compliance Schemes have been set up to help those companies affected by the WEEE Regulations by collecting and recycling products on their behalf.

Our enforcement policy statement in detail can be found on our website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk

For the full list of approved compliance schemes and their contact details, along with further information on the WEEE Regulations, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/weee or contact the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506.

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