JTA secures WEEE compliance fee role again

The government is to continue with the compliance fee system for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling for the 2021 compliance year, and will use the option proposed by the Joint Trade Association (JTA).

If insufficient WEEE recycling evidence is obtained, the compliance fee can be used

The compliance fee system is fundamental to the whole WEEE system in the UK. It allows compliance schemes and obligated business who don’t have enough recycling evidence to complete  their WEEE collection evidence targets for the year by paying a fee.

The system has its supporters and critics, the latter who consider that the fee is a ‘soft’ option compared to buying evidence from WEEE recyclers.

Approval came this week for use of the fee for the 2021 year from recycling minister Jo Churchill who has responsibility for WEEE. The JTA scheme has run for the past four years and will continue to be organised by audit and tax firm Mazars.

The government said: “There was strong support for a compliance fee across the industry. All respondents supported the adoption of a compliance fee.”


An alternative proposal was submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Valpak, part of the Reconomy Group, but respondents to a consultation on the fee system were largely in favour of the JTA proposal.

The Joint Trade Associations (JTA) group developed and proposed the mechanism for 2021.  The JTA comprises 10 producer trade associations across the electrotechnical sector, including the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA). The mechanism will continue to be administered by Mazars, an audit, tax and advisory firm. [updated 11 February]

It has promised that “enhanced” reporting will be given as to how money is spent from the WEEE fund to which the fees go. This is of interest to local authorities and others who benefit from spending of money raised by the fee.


Commenting on the JTA success in winning the compliance fee work again, Frank Thomas, current Chair of the JTA, said: “The JTA is pleased to have been selected to run the 2021 Compliance Fee, we believe our proposed methodology fairly reflects the market conditions that arose during 2021. We look forward to working with Defra, industry and Material Focus in making the 2021 Compliance Fee work for the whole WEEE sector.”


Nigel Harvey is chief executive of producer compliance scheme Recolight

Also responding to the announcement, Nigel Harvey, chief executive of Recolight (who is also chair of the WEEE Schemes Forum) said: “Setting an annual compliance fee is an essential part of the UK’s WEEE system.  Getting the level right is vital – too high, and it simply adds costs to the whole system.  Too low, and it could actively discourage WEEE collection.  The JTA proposal seems to get it right, including as it does a realistic assessment of both collection and treatment costs, and overhead costs.”

Mr Harvey added: “The compliance fee also generates considerable funds for WEEE awareness campaigns, and technical research.  That is just one of the reasons why retaining a compliance fee in an evolved and updated WEEE system could make a lot of sense.  It ensures that all WEEE schemes contribute to the system, whether or not they have hit their targets.  It also acts as a vital safety valve on costs, preventing excessive charging by those that access more WEEE than they need for their own targets.”

Groundhog day

A more circumspect approach to the announcement came from Robbie Staniforth, innovation and policy director at the Ecosurety compliance organisation.

It seems like groundhog day for the industry with the JTA proposal being chosen.

– Robbie Staniforth, Ecosurety

Mr Staniforth said: “Clearly the Minister had no viable alternative than to grant the fee. The system is set up in such a way that this annual decision is all but inevitable. It seems like groundhog day for the industry with the JTA proposal being chosen.

“The whole regulatory system requires an overhaul so we welcome recent news that a public consultation will finally being issued later this year. The last WEEE reforms, nearly a decade ago, have had a limited impact on improving environmental outcomes for electronic goods. We hope the next regulatory tinker will lead to a more meaningful change.”

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