U.K. Outlines WEEE Implementation

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LONDON Science Minister Malcolm Wicks outlined WEEE implementation regulations in the U.K., marking March and July 2007 as dates for readiness and compliance, respectively. Producers will bear the majority of responsibility for proper recycling and disposal of electronics.

Wicks outlined an implementation timetable in the summer of 2006, as preparation for the regulations given to Parliament. Some producers have already factored the cost of recycling into the design process, said Wicks. Regulations state that all companies that import, manufacture, and rebrand electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) will finance its treatment, recovery, and environmentally safe disposal. The regulations also broadcast support of government initiatives for controlling waste at production, rather than at end-of-life (EoL).

Producers of EEE must join approved producer-compliance schemes by March 15, 2007, to ensure readiness for a July 1, 2007, deadline for compliance. Consumers will be able to dispose of electrical waste free-of-charge at local refuse centers. Distributors, such as retailers, will choose between joining the distributor take-back scheme (DTS) and offering in-store take-back options.

Existing relationships that manage EEE waste will continue under the regulations, as part of "light-touch" enforcement, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The department will allow for and encourage reuse of discarded equipment, when possible. Non-statutory guidance will be published by the DTI in early 2007. The WEEE regulations and final Regulatory Impact Assessment will be available on the DTI's Website.



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