Councils get free seminars

The complexity of the electronic and electrical industry, and the number of stakeholders affected by the new legislation, has prompted many delays in implementation, and round after round of consultations with the DTI.

The directive has become notorious across Europe. But it seems that, this year, those who have planned ahead and prepared will finally reap the benefits of having effective measures in place to deal with requirements.

Since its formation in 2004, the Recycling Electrical Producers Industry Consortium (Repic), the UK's leading Weee-compliance solution, has been informing those affected by the directive of their obligations and responsibilities.

One major element to the success of the directive is the effective allocation and collection of Weee, with considerable pressure placed on local authorities and their Designated Collection Facilities (DCF). Legally, all manufacturers and importers of electrical and electronic goods will have to sign up to Producer Compliance Schemes (PCS) by March 2007 of which Repic is one. If not, they will be committing a criminal offence and may be prosecuted.

Each scheme will have its own separate percentage targets by weight for the recovery, reuse and recycling of different categories of Weee. The obligations on the PCS are based on the market share of each of its members, the weight and categories of Weee reported by the scheme. The relevant Environment Agency will then provide the operators of the PCS with information on the tonnage of Weee, and outline the relevant market share of each of the producers that are members of a PCS. This will allow the operator to negotiate financial contributions required from each member.

In turn, each scheme will have to engage with local authorities and other DCF operators to collect sufficient Weee to meet their obligations. The PCS will collect or accept old appliances from DCFs. Most DCFs will be run by local authorities. The cost of the operation of PCSs will be borne by the producer community. Upgrades to civic amenity sites will be financed by retailers opting out of in-store take-back.

This month and next, Repic is carrying out free seminars and workshops for local authorities. In Repic's 2006 seminars, many questions were raised by local authorities such as: How does the Weee directive affect me, my sites and my current mode of operation and contracts? Should I become a designated collection facility? And, what are the options? These seminars addressed and discussed the implications of the directive with local authorities. Local authorities are being encouraged to adapt waste disposal and collection, and change household waste sites (tips or civic amenity sites) to receive Weee goods to help retailers fulfil their obligation under the directive.

What more can be done by compliance schemes and local authorities to prepare? Within the next few weeks, compliance schemes in the Weee Scheme Forum (WSF) expect to issue a contract to an independent arms-length service provider to run an allocation process to match sites with schemes. This will help to ensure that the most efficient system of collection is in place to avoid issues of over- and under-collection, and guarantee all sites that become DCFs can receive free-of-charge site clearance to agreed service levels thereby allowing the directive to be implemented as effectively as possible. Critically important issues for local authorities will be addressed such as:
  • Ensuring a minimum service level is maintained
  • Ensuring all participating DCFs are cleared as required
  • Ensuring there are no orphan sites without a PCS collector
  • Minimum disruption to existing site activities
  • Maintenance of charitable reuse contracts
Dr Phil Morton is CEO of Repic.
To book a place at a seminar, contact janetteollerhead@
repic.co.uk. They are free to local authorities, and will be held between February 27 and March 8 in Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and London

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