Recolight respond to WEEE Consultation

10th January 2024

(UK) – On 28 December 2023, the UK government launched the WEEE consultation, where a range of measures were proposed within the joint UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive consultation.

The reform of the WEEE regulations is intended to encourage reuse and collection of waste electricals. And for products that cannot be reused, or remanufactured, proposals are in place to make it easier for consumers to recycle. Recolight has responded to the consultation and is said to be pleased to see that the initial policy proposals cover what had been expected.

There are two separate consultations – proposals for short term regulatory change, and a call for evidence in other areas to aid the development of new policy proposals.

Proposals for short term regulatory change include:

  • Free of charge collection of WEEE for consumers.
    In essence, providing householders with free of charge collection of both small WEEE, and also of bulky WEEE, financed by the producers of new products.
  • Enhanced options for consumer takeback via retailers.
    This includes strengthened obligations on retailers, in particular free collection of used appliances when delivering new appliances, and simpler in-store take back options for consumers.
  • Tackling non-compliant product sold via online marketplaces.
    The government propose a new class of producer. This would require online marketplaces to take on the financial obligations for collection and treatment of their overseas sellers. This would be consistent with the current packaging reforms.
  • New category for vapes.
    Establishment of a new category for vapes to ensure the cost of collection and treatment of these products is correctly borne by vape producers – and not by other producers.
  • Setting up a new central WEEE administration body
    This would manage several functions currently undertaken by various organisations, together with managing household WEEE collections, to control costs.

The call for evidence invites stakeholders to provide input into future policy development in a range of areas and measures to incentivise better eco-design of new products, requiring producers to finance fly-tipped WEEE, incentivising reuse over recycling, and providing business end users with easier to access WEEE collections.

The consultation will run for 10 weeks, as Recolight will be working closely with scheme members to gather views and to develop a response that seeks to ensure changes will work well.

Nigel Harvey , Recolight Chief Executive, said: “This consultation is long overdue, but it is pleasing that it has prioritised some ‘quick wins’ for early implementation. For the lighting industry, the most important is no doubt action to end the scourge of WEEE non-compliance through online marketplaces. Research has shown that the overwhelming majority of smaller electrical products, such as light bulbs, offered for sale through online marketplaces do not comply with the WEEE regulations. The proposed changes will require marketplaces to finance the WEEE obligations of products from outside the UK sold via their platform. For the lighting industry, this cannot happen soon enough.”