UK’s Dual-Use WEEE Definition to Change from 2016

From 2016, the definition of household and non-household waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is to be amended in the UK, to better match European policy.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) says that the definition of ‘dual-use’ EEE – that is, items that could potentially be used by consumers and businesses – is at odds with that of the European Commission (WE). Earlier this year, the EC published a document stating that WEEE from businesses should be considered as being from a household source, if it is similar in nature to that produced by a household. In the UK, business and household WEEE was primarily separated based on the quantity presented for collection.

BIS will amend its own definition on 1st January 2016 to match that of the EC. The onus will then be on vendors to determine whether an item is dual-use, based on its product design, specifications, intended use and whether it is likely to arise as waste from households. Items can only be classified as B2B if they are exclusively for use by businesses, such as digital signage displays. Vendors who have been producing EEE for the B2B market are now likely to have to pay for the recycling of a greater amount of household WEEE.

UK vendors placing EEE on the market next year (2015) will have to report dual-use EEE as B2C. That data will be used to apportion the 2016 household WEEE collection targets, according to market share.

Display Daily Comments

The PC and monitor markets are likely to be affected by this change.

Currently, vendors must provide their own take-back policies for B2B items; however, they must pay a fee to a compliance scheme, such as Valpak, when producing B2C items. The fee ensures that the items can be collected and disposed of responsibly.

Vendors’ customers may have their own recycling schemes in place – certainly the large corporates – which previously meant that vendors and customers could negotiate lower costs. That will no longer be possible and costs are likely to rise for both parties, in such a situation. However, we talked to Adrian Hawkes of Valpak, whose words may bring some relief! Hawkes noted that in some cases B2C items (including former dual-use WEEE), when collected for treatment and recycling, can be used to generate household evidence, which could then be used to help offset producer obligations.

Thanks to our friend Rob Musson, of Eizo, who brought this news to our attention. (TA)