REPIC, the UK’s largest producer compliance scheme for the collection and recycling of WEEE, has held a roundtable event to celebrate a year since the recast WEEE directive was implemented via the WEEE Regulations 2013. The panel debate, in partnership with APSRG, was held at the House of Commons and explored the impact of the WEEE Regulations one year on.
With experts and stakeholders in the WEEE market in attendance, the panel shared their thoughts on how the new regulations have affected their business since the Government’s new system was launched. The speakers presented views from differing stakeholder perspectives – a producer, a treatment facility and a government representative.
Chaired by MP Barry Sheerman, speakers at the event included Dr Philip Morton, chief executive of REPIC, Simon Eves, environmental affairs at Panasonic, Graeme Carus, business development director at European Metal Recycling and Stuart Edwards, head of materials and resource industries at the department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
Speaking at the event, Phil Morton, CEO of REPIC said, “The first year of the new regulations has generally worked very well – a point which was echoed by the rest of the panel. There is now a clear audit trail for WEEE, the ability to influence the quality of WEEE treatment and there has been a large price correction in the market, identified in a recent press release by Matthew Hancock, MP Minister for Business Enterprise and Energy at BIS as an £18 million saving, so that the costs that producers now pay are more reflective of the true costs of containers, transport, treatment, recycling and recovery of WEEE.
“It is important for everybody involved in the UK WEEE system to maintain clear channels of communication, so we know what is working and what isn’t. The roundtable was a great way to mark the end of the first year, as we heard from all sides of the debate. We have seen some great changes this year and as we enter a new compliance year, there will be plenty of opportunity to develop the system further. We will look in particular at suggestions around any increased administration burden for the reporting systems, as well as how we can help alleviate pressures at the end of the evidence trading year.”
Barry Sheerman, MP and chair of the panel debate comments, “I’m delighted that the APSRG has organised this event with REPIC, looking at the UK’s new WEEE system. Every year householders and companies in the UK discard an estimated 1 million tonnes, possibly more, of WEEE items, and it is vital that we make sure these products are recovered, reused, remanufactured and recycled.
“In light of increasing concerns around resource scarcity and security, and the fragility of our environment, it is vital that both the waste and resources industry and the manufacturing industry continue to work together to make sure that legislation such as the WEEE Directive are implemented effectively and reviewed continuously.”
The new WEEE regulations, which came into force from the 1st January 2014, sought to improve the old system by introducing three key changes: implementing a known tonnage target for WEEE collections, getting rid of the requirement or facility for producer compliance schemes to trade evidence between themselves and the introduction of a legitimate alternative method of compliance in the event that a producer scheme, for any reason, fell short of its target.