Retail sector concerned about proposed WEEE regulations

Posted on 11th February, 2011

The recent vote in European Parliament on the recast of the WEEE Directive will mean an increase of the target for collecting WEEE to 85 per cent by 2016.
In order to reach this higher target the UK is going to have to find new ways to make WEEE recycling easier for consumers, and to increase public awareness of the scheme in general.
One idea is to use retailers in a similar way to the battery recycling scheme – so retailers over a certain size who sell WEEE would be required to provide WEEE recycling collection points for customers.
However, speaking on behalf of the retail industry, Bob Gordon, head of environment at the British Retail Consortium has this week spoken of the burden that this would bring to retailers.
He said: “Retailers aren’t waste handlers, they’re shopkeepers. We can’t keep relying on shops for collection infrastructure. It’s a disproportionate burden on shopkeepers.”
Gordon claims that if the amendment is confirmed retailers may be required to segregate reusable WEEE from non-reusable WEEE. “It is not fair to ask staff to separate the WEEE and have them involved in waste management practices. It would mean that stores would need space for testing equipment too. It is just wholly inappropriate to tell retailers to do this.”
The amendments are still being considered, watch this space for further news on the Directive.