Months of wrangling over how the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive will work could delay the UK launch of the controversial scheme until next year.
Under the directive, producers will have to pay for the recycling or safe disposal of their worn-out electrical goods, while retailers will be responsible for collecting them.
This will either be through in-store take back or alternative collection facilities.
However, the DTI, which was supposed to have transposed
the directive into UK law by August this year, is still putting together an implementation package outlining how it will work, and admitted it may be subject to fines if there are serious delays.
A spokeswoman said: “We are not the only country that is behind on this.”
British Retail Consortium corporate social responsibility director Nigel Smith said the biggest sticking point was how to run the national clearing house, which allocates how much WEEE producers are responsible for and how they will go about dealing with it.
He said: “This is a highly complex operation and it’s still not clear who is going to run it and how it is going to interact with all the relevant parties such as local authorities.”
The BRC is still in negotiations with the government over the funding of retailer WEEE collection activities, he added.