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 user 2007-07-10 at 12:20:00 pm Views: 40
  • #18351

    New e-waste recycling laws begin
    much-delayed law that makes British producers and importers of
    electronic goods responsible for the recycling of their products has
    come into force.The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
    Directive requires 4kg of “e-waste” to be recycled per
    person.Manufacturers have to fund recycling schemes, while retailers
    must offer take-back services to customers.The legislation was supposed
    to be operational by August 2005 but was delayed by “major
    difficulties”.”E-waste”, which includes PCs, games consoles, microwaves
    and washing machines, is the fastest-growing form of rubbish in the
    European Union.

    The UK produces an estimated 1.2m tonnes of e-waste each year, most of which has been ending up in landfill sites.

    Beyond the shelf
    think this is an absolutely great piece of legislation,” said Jonathan
    Wright, a senior supply chain executive for Accenture, the management
    consultancy.”In the past, all that companies focused on was getting
    products made and getting them out to customers,” he explained.”Now,
    organisations are having to think about what is going to happen after
    the product has been sold.”The WEEE directive entered the statute book
    at the beginning of the year, but full producer responsibility was
    delayed until 1 July.Under the legislation, retailers selling
    electrical goods are obliged to offer customers a free in-store
    take-back service on a “like for like” basis, or help fund the
    expansion of a network of WEEE collection points.Comet, one of the UK’s
    largest electrical retailers, is among the companies funding the
    upgrading of local authority-run recycling facilities.The company’s
    managing director, Hugh Harvey, welcomed the belated introduction of
    the law.”We believe this legislation is a really positive initiative
    which will make it much easier for consumers to recycle their
    electrical waste,” he said.

    Collective responsibility
    directive has also required manufacturers to join one of 37 “Producer
    Compliance Schemes” operating in the UK.The schemes, which are
    monitored by the Environment Agency, collect and recycle the e-waste on
    behalf of the companies.”The amount we are responsible for is
    calculated by looking at the amount we sell,” explained HP’s takeback
    compliance manager, Kirstie McIntyre.”We report to our compliance
    scheme, who in turn reports to the Environment Agency on our behalf.”We
    tell them how much IT we sold to consumers and business customers last
    year; the Environment Agency then adds up all the sales by the major
    manufacturers and works out percentage responsibility for each
    company.”However, Mrs McIntyre voiced concern that the EU directive did
    not offer the same incentives as WEEE legislation in Japan.”What they
    have done in Japan is introduce a more individual producers’
    responsibility approach,” she said.”Instead of HP being responsible for
    any old IT and recycling it, we are only responsible for HP equipment.”

    had a number of additional environmental benefits, she added.”Most of
    the environmental impact in complex manufactured goods is decided at
    the design stage.”If we design our products to be more recyclable at
    the end-of-life stage, we not only reap the economic benefits but also
    the design decisions that we have made”Why should we make [components]
    easier to remove when we are getting everybody else’s laptop back”At
    the end of the day, we have shareholders and we have to make a very
    strong business case for any changes that we make.”At the moment, we do
    have design changes that we can make, but we cannot make the business
    case stack up because we do not get enough of our own products
    back.”The WEEE Directive is scheduled to be reviewed in 2008, five
    years after the EU first agreed to implement legislation to tackle the
    growing problem of e-waste ending up in landfill sites.