26 November 2020 by Robyn White

Amazon hits back at WEEE report 

Amazon has said it is “committed to minimising waste and helping customers to reuse, repair, and recycle” after a report by MPs accused it of “dodging” its environmental responsibilities.

Earlier today, the Environmental Audit Committee published its report into the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling sector (see letsrecycle.com story).

The report urged more responsibility to be put on online marketplaces such as Amazon

It urged the government to put more responsibility on companies such as Amazon and Apple in collecting, recycling and repairing their products, which, according to the report, contribute to 155,000 tonnes of WEEE ending up in UK household bins each year.

The chair of the committee, Philip Dunne MP, said: “For too long companies like Amazon and Apple have been dodging their environmental responsibilities for the products they sell”.

He added: “Too many devices sold and made by these companies have a limited, and sometimes decreasing, lifespan and end up in bins, eventually going to landfill or incineration”.

Amazon UK however, said it is committed to minimising electrical waste, and will continue to work with Defra on the role of online marketplaces in reducing WEEE.

‘Range of Options”

In a statement given to letsrecycle.com, an Amazon UK spokesperson said it is committed to its reponsibilities and provides a “wide range of options” through its Amazon Second Chance website.

“We have supported the recycling of more than 10,000 tonnes of electronic waste in the UK over the last decade,” a spokesperson said.

“We have supported the recycling of more than 10,000 tonnes of electronic waste in the UK over the last decade”

Amazon UK spokesperson

They added: “To address the root cause of eWaste, Amazon’s own devices are designed to last so that customers don’t have to upgrade every year, and we provide a range options such as trade-in, pre-owned devices, and recycling. Our latest generation of devices are also made with more recycled materials than ever before”.

‘Spot on’

Meanwhile, some in the waste sector welcomed the report, with the compliance scheme Recolight describing its recommendations as “spot on”.

Recolight’s CEO Nigel Harvey said: “Online marketplaces must be required to play their part in the WEEE system. They are retailers – so they should have the same duties to collect WEEE as “bricks and mortar” retailers”.

He added there must be no “watering down” of WEEE requirements and fees for online marketplaces.

‘Short term-ism’

Robert Staniforth, head of policy at producer responsibility scheme, Ecosurety, also welcomed the report, saying there is simply “too much short-termism” in the current system.

“What this report outlines is that action is needed beyond merely setting ambitious recycling and reuse targets,” he said.
Mr Staniforth added: “To make good on their promise of a more circular economy in their 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, the Government need to legislate to increase product lifetimes, specifically relating to software updates and repairability”.


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