Lack of WEEE transparency is putting producer responsibility at risk
The majority of business-to-business e-waste collections are not reported in compliance with the WEEE Directive, new research has found.
According to the study from LRS Consultancy, while recycling and refurbishment of commercial IT units at end-of-use is commonplace, these units are likely not to be reported by businesses.
In turn, this lack of clarity and transparency around material flows and treatments could impact on waste producers' legal obligations to finance recycling.
The paper concludes that to achieve the goals of extended producer responsibility for business-to-business IT WEEE, the networks and operational practices of these streams need to be better understood when developing business strategies and government policies.
The findings of the study have been published in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology and come at a time when the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is seeking to reduce the burden on business through its WEEE consultation.
Report author Richard Peagam said that the research formed a good source of evidence about the commercial WEEE market in Europe.
"The materials used in electrical and electronic equipment becoming widely recognised as a commodity - there are both opportunities and risks for organisations along the supply chain, including producers, collectors, compliance schemes and re-users/recyclers.
"The evidence I have presented highlights the risks to producer responsibility and should stimulate ideas to overcome them."