Businesses still confused by WEEE

More than a third of UK businesses think that small companies are exempt from WEEE regulations and many believe the regulations affect manufacturers of electrical products more than importers.

More than a year after the introduction of the regulations, research by the Environment Agency showed that 76% of businesses are aware of the regulations and the environmental cost of electrical and electronic waste.

But there are still some major misconceptions about the rules which could put businesses at risk of breaching the regulations and incurring a fine.

One of the major areas of concern for the agency was that many UK businesses do not realise they are classified as electrical producers.

Some companies also mistakenly believe that if their offices are not in the UK they do not need to join a WEEE compliance scheme in the UK.

The Environment Agency also found some of those businesses questioned believed manufacturers are affected more than importers, although WEEE regulations apply equally to all businesses involved in the supply chain, from manufacturers to distributors.

Adrian Harding, producer responsibility policy advisor at the Environment Agency, said: “It is encouraging to see good overall awareness of green issues across electronics manufacturing businesses.

“However, it is concerning that many businesses in the sector have not made full use of the guidance that’s been put in place to help them comply with the WEEE Regulations.

“As we step up our enforcement of the regulations, many of these businesses are putting themselves at an increasing risk of being fined.”

The agency is urging businesses to use its step-by-step guide to help them comply with the rules and choose a compliance scheme to join.

More information on the WEEE regulations from the Environment Agency can be found here.

Kate Martin

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie