Skip to main content

Waste Electrical And Electronic Equipment Directive

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on whether printer ink and toner cartridges should be classed as consumables for the purposes of the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. [118041]

The European Commission has already made clear that these goods are considered consumables for the purposes of this Directive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations she has received in respect of the implementation of the European Union waste electrical and electronic equipment directive in respect of the re-use of printer ink and toner cartridges; and if she will make a statement; [118079](2) how many people she estimates are employed by companies engaged in the re-use of printer ink and toner cartridges; [118080](3) what the estimated annual turnover is for companies engaged in the re-use of printer ink and toner cartridges; [118081](4) what action she has taken to encourage the manufacture of re-usable printer ink and toner cartridges; and if she will make a statement; [118084](5) what estimate she has made of the amount of waste going to landfill sites each year as a result of the implementation of the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive preventing the reuse of printer ink and toner cartridges; and if she will make a statement. [118078]

Several inkjet cartridge refill businesses have written to ex press their concern that their operations may be put at risk if the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive scope does not include these goods. I am making clear in my replies that we take these concerns seriously and that I am keen for this sector to continue to flourish. Industry estimates suggest there are over 100 companies that remanufacture ink and toner cartridges for reuse, employing over 2,000 people with another 20 plus companies involved in the supply chain. Their combined turnover is said to be in the order of £150 million per annum.The WEEE Directive does not prevent the reuse or refilling of printer cartridges. The concerns raised by the refill sector relate to existing technology, presently applied to a very small proportion of goods sold. Business estimates that 30 to 40 per cent. of toner and inkjet cartridges are presently reused or recycled equating to 6 to 8,000 tonnes per annum. The WEEE Directive will not affect this.The European Commission has made clear that printer cartridges do not fall within the scope of the WEEE Directive, but that forthcoming eco-design based EU legislation may pick this issue up. The UK agrees with this assessment. In the mean time, if the spread of new technology preventing reuse starts to significantly impinge on the independent refill market, I will wish to consider what additional action might be necessary.