As the notoriously unpopular WEEE directive passes its first anniversary, the Government is boasting of the success of the scheme so far – while trade body ITACS has warned retailers that have not yet complied that enforcement is going to step up a gear.
According to figures released by the Government, the UK has collected around 6kg per capita, per year, 2kg above the EU collection target. However, the Government isn’t resting on its laurels, saying that it will continue to evaluate the scheme’s effectiveness.
"The WEEE system is subject to ongoing examination and refinement with the aim of developing and improving it," a spokeswoman for BERR told PC Retail. "For instance, the WEEE Advisory Body has been established to assist the Government with this. The UK’s priority for the first compliance period was to develop the system infrastructure and achieve the EU collection targets."
With the close of the first compliance period, ITACS’ chairman Matthew Woolley told PC Retail that the channel needs to be aware that while they may not have received any notices or visits from Government officials on the subject of WEEE, that is likely to change: "Looking around the industry, it seems that failing to comply or to stop producing has been the main choice for the indie computer retailer. With the prospect of it being enforced by the VCA, ignoring WEEE is not going to work in the long term."
However, he was keen to stress that WEEE has opened up new opportunities for enterprising businesses. "While you can’t charge for taking back PCs, you can charge for removing data off of the hard drives. Also, when looking to dispose of any waste, look for firms that will buy your WEEE as there is a market for it."