Producer responsibility under the UK WEEE Regulations will begin from1 July 2007. Non-statutory Guidance to assist business affected by the regulations to understand their obligations and identify the most appropriate method to discharge them was published in February 2007. This document will be reviewed and amended on a regular basis to ensure clarity in light of experience.
In the early part of 2007 the DTI held a series of road-shows for producers and distributors across the UK. In addition the environment authorities arranged seminars for prospective Producer Compliance Schemes and the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) operator held workshops to raise awareness of the opportunities the regulations offer Local Authorities. This awareness raising activity was supplemented by a number of placed articles and features in the trade press.
It is encouraging to see the active engagement of all affected parties involved. For example:
The environment authorities in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have approved 37 Producer Compliance Schemes to help producers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) discharge their obligations under the Regulations,
There is evidence of increased investment by the waste management and treatment sector to increase the existing capacity to deal with WEEE as it arises; and
Distributors and local authorities are working with the DTS operator to develop a network of designated collection facilities using the existing local authority waste collection infrastructure.
A public awareness campaign will begin in the coming months to inform consumers of the regulations and the positive role they can play in ensuring WEEE is separately collected, treated and reprocessed to the standards required by the regulations to secure the environmental benefits the WEEE system will offer.
At the time of laying the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE) 2006 (SI 3289), the Government indicated that they were considering introducing partial producer responsibility from 1 April 2007. However, following extensive discussions with industry, the Government have decided not to take this forward.
Officials within my Department will continue direct dialogue with trade associations and other representative bodies to ensure a practical, effective and workable WEEE system is established within the UK.