Retailers may win an additional six months to prepare for the controversial Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive as the government looks set to delay the implementation date yet again, according to the British Retail Consortium.
The directive, which puts responsibility for collection and recycling of worn out items such as fridges on suppliers and retailers, was originally intended to be law by August last year, but was then postponed to this month and then June 2006 while the government thrashed out the details.
Now the deadline is set to be delayed further with another Christmas likely to pass before the directive becomes law.
A DTI spokeswoman said that it was preparing to kick off a consultation this month, which would invite further discussions from stakeholders about how and when the directive should be realistically applied. Although a new date has not been pencilled in, the BRC believes it is likely to be January 2007.
Nigel Smith, BRC director of corporate social responsibility, said it was unfortunate that the DTI’s announcement had come so late, but he understood the difficulties with the WEEE directive, such as collaboration between all the parties involved.
Energy minister Malcolm Wicks said planning and preparation had to be right to ensure environmental benefits could be delivered. “We have listened to the concerns expressed by both the business community and other stakeholders and have decided that more time is needed.”
Retailers will have an obligation to offer take-back services to households, either in-store or at collection facilities, while producers will be forced to finance the recycling and recovery of separately collected WEEE within the UK.
Rachel Barnes