Skip to main content

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government will act to stop the export of waste electrical and electronic equipment that leaves the UK under the guise of being reusable when it has not been tested to see whether items are safe and fit for purpose. (102632)

Tackling the illegal shipment of waste electrical and electronic equipment is one of many priorities in ensuring environmentally sound management of waste around the globe.

Controls on the transfrontier shipments of waste apply to electrical and electronic equipment where they are classified as waste. It rests, in the first place, with the producer or the holder of a piece of equipment to decide whether it is being discarded or not. It is Government policy that no waste, including electrical and electronic waste, should be exported from the UK for disposal.

The Environment Agency (EA) has issued advice on the controls which apply to the import and export of waste electrical and electronic equipment. This is available from the EA’s website:

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/tfs_01_1341027.pdf.

The UK takes the issue of illegal shipments of waste very seriously. In September 2005, the Government wrote to all waste disposal and collection authorities in England and Wales to confirm the controls that apply to exports of waste electrical and electronic equipment and reminding them to assure themselves that their waste is managed in accordance with national, EU and international obligations.

The EA is continuing with its work to detect and prevent the illegal export of waste through targeted inspection based on intelligence received on illegal activity.