Up to £775,000 has been made available by retailers, suppliers and manufacturers of electrical equipment as part of the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Compliance Fee.
Of this, £375,000 has been allocated from the 2014 WEEE Compliance Fee Fund (WCF) and the remainder – £400,000 – is from the DTS.
The move represents the first time that money from the WEEE compliance fee has been distributed. The WEEE compliance fee is imposed on schemes which have been unable to collect enough evidence for the recycling of a particular type of WEEE product. It was introduced for the first time last year, after concerns that the old system was too costly and could be advantageous to some sectors of the system, and is administered by Mazars.
A spokesman for BIS said that the £375,000 accounted for all the money raised by the WCF last year, minus administration costs. The department declined to give a breakdown of which categories of WEEE the majority of payments into the fund related to, for instance a shortfall in fridge or lighting recycling.
The Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) meanwhile has been helping to fund local authority projects since the WEEE regulations were introduced in 2007 and in December 2014 announced a separate, £700,000 pot of money to help councils recycle WEEE (see letsrecycle.com story). Administered by Valpak, the DTS provides an alternative to in-store take-back for retailers and distance-sellers to discharge some of their obligations under the UK WEEE Regulations to ensure arrangements for customers to recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment.
Under the new, joint funding scheme, single project bids of up to £40,000 are sought from individual local authorities, with up to £100,000 available for consortia bids.
The funding is available to encourage reuse of whole appliances or increase the tonnage of separately collected domestic WEEE for recycling or to increase the recycling rate of collected equipment.
Waste Disposal Authorities (WDA) with at least one publicly accessible Designated Collection Facility (DCF) are eligible to apply either individually or in collaboration with other WDAs. Waste Collection Authorities (WCA) are also eligible to apply although their application must be endorsed by the WDA in their area.
Collaboration with producer compliance schemes, waste management companies, local reuse organisations and other relevant partners is encouraged.
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Applications will be assessed by a panel made up of representatives from WRAP, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Joint Trade Associations (JTA) and the local authority community. The panel will be chaired by BIS.
Announcing the fund this afternoon, Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “We have around £1bn worth of electrical equipment in our homes which we no longer use but which still has real value.
“This business-led fund can help drive up levels of collection, re-use and recycling of unwanted electrical equipment. The fund will also help divert electrical waste from landfill and reduce waste by promoting the re-use of electrical appliances.”
All project proposals must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 October 2015 and endorsed by the appropriate Waste Disposal Authority. Winning applicants will be chosen by November 30, with funds to be distributed and spent by December 2016.
Initial comment on the call for proposals came from the Joint Trades Association – the body which first proposed the WEEE Compliance Fee.
JTA Chairman Richard Hughes, who is also technical manager at AMDEA said: “Today’s announcement shows the BIS decision to introduce a compliance fee mechanism in the revised WEEE Regulations was correct. The mechanism is essential for a healthy WEEE system that will continue to deliver the benefits of reducing red tape and meeting the national collection target. The funds allocated will provide invaluable support to Local Authorities to improve their WEEE collections.”
Simon Eves, deputy chairman of the JTA and head of environmental affairs at Panasonic UK, added: “At the request of BIS, the JTA has agreed an aligned fund application process with the administrators of the DTS. Local Authorities now have a single application form to access both WEEE related funds. That makes great sense. Just as the DTS provides retailers with an alternative means of complying with their obligations, so the Compliance Fee mechanism provides Producers, through their Compliance Schemes, with an alternative means of complying with theirs.”
The announcement today comes after BIS revealed at a letsrecycle.com conference in June that it was considering giving money raised by the Compliance Fee to councils (see letsrecycle.com story).