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A WEEE warning for unregistered producers

Companies that import, rebrand or manufacture electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), such as televisions, photocopiers and toasters are today (Tuesday) being warned by the Environment Agency to make sure they have signed up with an approved producer compliance scheme.

Liz Parkes, Head of Waste at the Environment Agency, said: “Around 3,900 producers have signed up for the first compliance period which runs to the end of this year and they'll need to renew their registration for next year with any of the compliance schemes available.

“However, we know that there are still some companies out there that need to register for the current year. Our message is simple – join an approved compliance scheme now. Leave it too late and you risk enforcement action from us.”

On 1 July 2007, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force in the UK, implementing the EU's WEEE Directive. With electrical waste now one of the fastest-growing waste streams across Europe, expanding at around three times the rate of general waste, its aim is to encourage more recycling, recovery and re-use, and ultimately divert more used goods away from landfill.

Separately collected waste electrical and electronic equipment has to be treated and recycled with the producers paying the cost. Anyone who imports, brands or manufactures such goods is a 'producer' and has to be registered through an approved WEEE compliance scheme. These schemes have been set up to help those companies affected by regulations by collecting and recycling products on their behalf.

The first compliance period runs from July 2007 – December 2007 and then the following compliance periods are on a calendar year basis.

Liz Parkes continued: “As we move towards the end of the first compliance period we are still working 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 Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is holding a series of free workshops this month aimed at companies affected by the regulations. It will provide information to make sure companies are legally compliant, as well as a Q&A session. For more details visit www.berr.gov.uk/files/file40909.pdf.

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

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