Why are the WEEE regulations being reformed?
Whilst the existing WEEE regulations do facilitate reducing the environmental impacts caused by end-of life electronic and electrical items, the government are looking to reform the WEEE regulations for several reasons:
- The existing WEEE system does not fully incorporate full net cost principles
- Lack of provisions in the regulations to support the drive towards a circular economy
- Lack of public awareness and an inconvenience associated with disposal of WEEE, which therefore does not drive circular behaviour
- An estimated 155 kilotonnes of domestic WEEE is disposed of annually by UK households, but even so we are hoarding millions of small electrical appliances in households, weighing around 190,000 tonnes
- Inequality in costs covered by online producers and sellers, compared to traditional routes to market
Part A will contain formal government proposals that are supported by an impact assessment, which will examine whether there is a need for action/reform and analyse the possible impacts of available solutions. It will cover areas of reform that aim to increase reuse and recycling rates by stepping up takeback obligations of distributors, doorstep WEEE collections, bringing more producers into scope, taking steps to tackle the ‘vape crisis’.
Part B will be more akin to a call for evidence (an information-gathering exercise that seeks expertise from people, organisations, and stakeholders with knowledge of a particular issue), which will explore areas of policy that need strengthening, by asking for views on these topics to make improvements to the proposals.