Report says UK could save £64m through WEEE consultation

    12 Jun 2013

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    According to a report commissioned by technology company Hewlett Packard (HP), the UK could save up to £64m a year if the Government's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) consultation chooses the option of matching collection sites to compliance schemes.

    The matching process is as one of the options from Government’s WEEE Consultation Paper, which set out four different scenarios to help meet EU recycling targets. The four options are:

    • Option 1: Doing nothing – the report suggests this would leave businesses with an excessive cost of £60m per annum.
    • Option 2: To implement a National Producer Compliance Scheme – according to the report, this option creates the biggest long term cost. The forecast annual cost to producers would be between £69m and £444m per annum based on experiences elsewhere in the EU.
    • Option 3: The target and compliance fee system – it states that this option would also cut red tape, but only generate savings of only £11m to £26m each year.
    • Option 4: Match collection sites to producer compliance schemes.

    The report suggests that the matching process outlined in the consultation would be the most cost-effective scenario for the IT sector and local authorities.

    Commissioned by HP and prepared by expert consultancy, 360 Environmental, the report estimates that the retained value of WEEE could generate revenues to local authorities of £20m per year. 

    According to HP's Dr Kirstie McIntyre, the current system has led to excessive costs to UK business, however believes that a matching process would give local authorities greater flexibility and also support efforts to increase collection. 

    She commented:

    "It provides collectors of WEEE with the flexibility to choose by waste stream, between a producer collection scheme or managing WEEE collection independently and retaining the value of this WEEE."

    The report’s author, Phil Conran from 360 Environmental, also stated that the modeling for option 3 may underestimate the savings to be made from this strategy. 

    He said: 

    “The Compliance Fee is likely to contribute towards additional margins that we have not been able to model in this report. For example, the Compliance Fee could be used as a benchmark for trading prices and could therefore become the de facto base cost of compliance. 

    “Compliance schemes wishing to sell evidence via direct contractual arrangements will know that they will only need to provide a marginal discount to this base price. This could further limit the reduction of red tape costs.”

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