Calls for evidence on WEEE costs

Written by: Recycling Waste World | Published:

David Adams of Clarity Environmental looks at concerns that producers are paying too much to comply with the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) has asked WEEE compliance schemes and electronics producers for a variety of data in response to concerns that producers are paying too much to comply with the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations, writes David Adams, Managing Director of Clarity Environmental.

Clarity’s subsidiary business runs the compliance scheme Econo-Weee, so we are in deep discussion about the best approach to this request.

We’ve built our business on ethical foundations so we want to do what’s ethically right for producers and, of course, we want to assist BIS in their efforts to achieve best value. But this request puts us in a tricky position because the information we supply could be placed in the public domain under the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, compliance schemes like ours are left trying to find a balance between assisting this consultation and committing commercial suicide.

In the five years since the WEEE regulations came into force, very little has changed for producers. Market prices that were seemingly plucked out of the air when the regulations started are still the guide for today’s prices even though, in this time, we’ve seen reprocessor’s charges plummet and scrap rebates rocket.

The problem lies in the fact that every bit of evidence has a home as this gives the green light to profiteers to over-collect. There are schemes that use the name simply as a veneer for the large scale trading business that sits quietly behind it. Many of these companies make no qualms about the way they are operating and that they have little intention of attracting new members as there is far more money to be made in the evidence. I’m sure that it’s this type of business that BIS is trying to target. The problem is that we operate in a free market so can we really legislate against it?

Producers have so far failed to take matters into their own hands. And with so little transparency in the market and no to turn to, many sit in ignorance of the real savings to be made. Whatever the response from compliance schemes, and the resulting action from BIS, real changes will only happen if producers force them to by moving to cost effective solutions and voting with their feet.

For more information about Clarity Environmental and Econo-Weee, and to subscribe to our newsletter clearview, go to

For more information on all these issues, and for an opportunity to discuss them with Clarity, book your place now at the Developing WEEE resources conference, 11 July 2012, Regents College Conference Centre, London.

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