A fall in demand for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) evidence has impacted on the collection of material from local authority civic amenity sites.
As a consequence of the demand change, Bexley council is believed to be the first local authority to use ‘Regulation 34’ under the amended WEEE regulations – it has requested waste management firm Veolia to collect the material. Regulation 34 ultimately forces a WEEE compliance scheme to pick up the material from a council’s sites if the authority has been unable to secure a contract with a scheme to clear the material. It is understood that Veolia had been collecting the material but had told Bexley that it was discontinuing the service.
“We understand the compliance scheme’s position which is due to targets already being achieved. The compliance schemes cannot burden the costs of collecting and arranging for the reprocessing of material on their customers if it’s not required for meeting their targets. So Bexley have been unable to make alternative contractual arrangements for regular WEEE collections from its two sites”
Mr Didsbury also criticised the regulations, claiming that higher collection targets would provide a greater incentive for councils to collect WEEE from local authorities.
“Defra should at the first opportunity revise upwards the targets so the system works so waste authority are not left having to choose to comply with their environment permit or the regulations.”
A spokesperson for Veolia added: “The Veolia WEEE scheme has a strong working relationship with Bexley council. We are working with the council and the Environment Agency to follow the Regulation 34 procedure to ensure the collection request is validated and completed.”
WEEE compliance schemes have told letsrecycle.com that the law changes have shifted the dynamic in the WEEE evidence market, where previously there had been an incentive for schemes to amass collection contracts with councils, where they might seek to gain from selling on surplus evidence.
One scheme operator, who asked not to be named, said: “It used to be a bun fight to get hold of civic amenity site contracts, but now the story is that we are being asked by a lot of schemes if we have an interest – that has never happened before.”
Other changes in the market are also likely to have had an impact on the demand for WEEE evidence. In recent months the UK’s largest obligated producer – Samsung – switched from ERP UK to Valpak, leading to an overall reduction in the former’s collection obligation.
Elsewhere, changes to the classification of ‘dual use’ WEEE – which can be items used in either a household or a business – are also reportedly having an effect on demand for WEEE from CA sites.
Definitions of what can be considered WEEE from households, and WEEE from businesses – and is therefore obligated under collection targets – were changed in late 2014.
Guidance was amended to bring the UK’s WEEE definition in-line with that of the European Commission which states that any WEEE of a similar nature to that presented to householders, regardless of how much is presented, should be classed as household WEEE.
This means that compliance schemes can turn to other sources of WEEE, such as that collected from offices, to meet their collection targets.
In November, some councils had reported that competitive tendering for WEEE from CA sites had reduced since the changes to the Regulations
Article Courtesy of http://www.letsrecycle.com/
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