UK consultation on adopting “Open Scope” WEEE categories
by Ellen Thornton at 08:48 in Emerging, WEEE, Battery, Environmental

Currently in the UK, electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and WEEE are categorised and reported under 14 categories which comprises of 10 compulsory categories and 4 subcategories. The EU WEEE Directive (Directive 2012/19/EU) introduced a number of changes to the original Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC), inclu​ding an "Open Scope" of 6 revised categories instead of the previous 10, which according to the Directive are to be introduced from 15 August 2018. The 2013 WEEE Regulations fully transposed the requirements of the EU WEEE Directive, hence will include changing the UK's 14 categories to 6, which according to DEFRA will be from 1 January 2019.  Defra opened a consultation on the 'open scope' on the 20th October which will close on the 8th December this year. They want to hear people's view on 2013 WEEE Regulations, specifically whether they improved the environment as a proportionate cost to business. Defra will use these views to inform the Post Implementation Review next year. The government has proposed three options for implementation of the open scope with a view to minimise the costs to businesses as much as possible.

Option 1

The first option involves making no amendments and hence allowing the WEEE Regulations to take effect, with the requirement to categorise and report in 6 revised categories from 1 January 2019. The new categories would be: 1 Temperature Exchange Equipment; 2 Screens, Monitors & Equipment Containing Screens Surface are >100 cm2; 3 Lamps; 4 Large Equipment Any External Dimension > 50 cm; and 6 Small IT & Telecom No External Dimension > 50 cm. This would require changes to how producers and Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) report. Furthermore, there would be a significant redistribution of costs, with some producers paying significantly more and others making savings.

Option 2

The second option involves making amendments to the 2013 WEEE Regulations to retain the UK's current 14 categories and to allocate any EEE previously out of scope to one of the existing categories. This would avoid redistribution of costs and is the government's preferred option.

Option 3

The final option would adopt the 6 revised categories but introduce 3 subcategories in order to reduce the change in costs to producers. This would mean that more costly or hazardous WEEE treatment is fairly allocated to producers who place it on the market as they would have to report in the relevant subcategories. Hence increased costs will be imposed on some producers, and savings for others as well as changes to the reporting system for both producers and AATFs. Two subcategories would come under 'Temperature Exchange Equipment' which wo​uld be: 1 Those containing refrigerant and 2 Those not containing refrigerant. A further three subcategories would come under 'Large Equipment Any External Dimension > 50 cm' which would be: 5 PV, 6 Large household equipment (LDA) and 7 All other.​

Changes to charges

The Environment Agency (EA) is publishing a consultation in autumn this year. This will include a proposal of changes to the charges made by the EA for regulation of the UK WEEE Regulations. There is currently a large range of views concerning their current charges to businesses which has triggered the consultation. One of the key proposals will be to increase charges for obligated producers of EEE to ensure the recycling evidence system is regulated effectively. Any proposals to change charges only apply to businesses located in England however, under this proposal, fees charges to producers would be paid the EA to regulate the system. Such a change would require an amendment to the 2013 WEEE Regulations.

Next steps

After the consultation closes on the 8th December, the government will publish a response within 12 weeks. Any amendments required to introduce "Open Scope" will be made to come into force from 1st January 2019. If you have any questions or need any helping regarding WEEE compliance, please contact us here.

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