WEEE overhaul forces more takeback requirements on large retailers

Retailers will have to extend their takeback schemes for e-waste under new rules governing the WEEE Directive which have effectively strengthened producer responsibility requirements.

The recast of the directive, which was approved by the European Parliament last week (January 19), means that large stores selling electronic items – with a floor space of over 400 square metres – will be obliged to take back small items of WEEE free of charge, regardless of whether a customer makes a purchase or not.

In addition, manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment will continue to contribute financially towards meeting tougher reprocessing targets, although they will benefit from a cut in red tape, with simplified registration and reporting requirements.

The move to force larger retailers to offer drop-off collection points for WEEE has been broadly welcomed by industry, including the British Retail Consortium (BRC) who believes the new measures are a “sensible way forward”.

Under the new directive, more stringent collection targets have been set. From 2016, 45 tonnes of e-waste must be collected for every 100 tonnes of e-goods sold during the previous three years. This will rise to 65 tonnes by 2019 – alternatively, member states can choose to collect 85% of all e-waste generated.

Maxine Perella

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