from Martin Taylor, MD, general retail, Wincanton

Sir; re: ‘Electrical mountains loom’ (The Grocer, August 2 2003). Although there has been no apparent clarity from the government as to who will foot the bill when the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive becomes law in 13 months, retailers need to put plans in place as a matter of priority.

Although the idea of having electrical goods returned to the retailer sounds daunting, having a working system in place is achievable and fast becoming essential. Comet has acted with foresight and has launched a solution with Wincanton to recycle returned fridges. The directive will require retailers to give details of collection, treatment and recovery of electrical waste, as well as giving targets on expected recovery rates of goods. Producers will be obliged to give as much detail as possible on the material content of equipment and any dangerous substances to enable the recycling companies to comply with the directive. If electrical goods have been imported from outside the EU, the responsibility will probably lie with the retailer to provide that information.

In order to meet the demands of the directive, retailers need to start looking for partners with the capacity and knowhow to process WEEE now.