The matching process – one of four options outlined in the consultation – was found to be the most cost-effective scenario for the IT sector and local authorities within the report.

It highlighted that doing nothing would leave businesses with an excessive cost of £60m per annum, while another option, to implement a national producer compliance scheme, would create the biggest long term cost – an annual forecast of between £69m and £444m to producers, based on experiences elsewhere in the EU.

The final option, a target and compliance fee system, would cut red tape, but only generate savings of between £11m to £26m each year.

The report, prepared by expert consultancy 360 Environmental, estimates that the retained value of WEEE could generate revenues to local authorities of £20m per year.

According to HP’s Dr Kirstie McIntyre, the current system has led to excessive costs to UK business, but a matching process would give local authorities greater flexibility and support efforts to increase collection.

“It provides collectors of WEEE with the flexibility to choose by waste stream, between a producer collection scheme or managing WEEE collection independently and retaining the value of this WEEE,” she said.

Meanwhile the report’s author, Phil Conran from 360 Environmental, said introducing a compliance fee would likely contribute towards additional costs that the research hasn’t been able to model.

“The compliance fee could be used as a benchmark for trading prices and could therefore become the de facto base cost of compliance,” he commented.

“Compliance schemes wishing to sell evidence via direct contractual arrangements will know that they will only need to provide a marginal discount to this base price. This could further limit the reduction of red tape costs.”

Maxine Perella

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