27 October 2017 by Will Date

WEEE fee proposal aims to ‘boost’ CA site collection

Proposals submitted for the 2017 WEEE compliance fee methodology will address local authority concerns over direct collections of electrical waste from civic amenity sites, an industry body has claimed.

The Joint Trade Association – a grouping of nine Trade Associations in the electronics sector – has submitted a proposal for setting the compliance fee methodology, which is one of two possible options under consideration.

WEEE compliance fee proposals have been put forward for 2017

Three producer-led WEEE Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs), Repic, ERP and Recolight, have contributed to the work of the organisation.

The fee is an alternative mechanism that compliance schemes and obligated business can use if they have insufficient recycling evidence to meet their WEEE collection targets for the year. Targets are usually met through acquiring evidence of recycling for material collected for recycling, much of which is collected from council-run civic amenity sites.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published details last week of the two potential options for the 2017 fee, with an alternative option also having been put forward by the compliance scheme Valpak (see letsrecycle.com story). Stakeholders have until 1 December to provide views on the two proposals.

A proposal submitted by Valpak had been used to set the fee in 2016, and JTA proposals had been used in 2014 and 2015.

According to JTA, its 2017 proposal is designed to incentivise compliance schemes to physically collect WEEE rather than resorting to using the fee to meet their yearly obligations.  It also aims to ensure that PCSs who have made efforts to physically collect WEEE, should not be penalised for using the Fee, JTA has claimed.

Demand

Some concerns have been raised by local authorities that changes in the WEEE market have led to a drop in demand for the physical collection of WEEE from council sites (see letsrecycle.com story). This has led a number of councils to use ‘Regulation 34’ of the amended WEEE regulations to ultimately force a scheme to collect material (see letsrecycle.com story).

Susanne Baker

Susanne Baker, JTA Chair and head of environment and compliance at techUK

Commenting on the proposals, Susanne Baker, JTA Chair and head of environment and compliance at techUK said: “Based on evidence and analysis, our proposal focuses on making collecting WEEE from local authorities more attractive to PCSs.

“Firstly, our proposal fully addresses local authorities’ concerns by basing the Compliance Fee on the costs of collecting WEEE from local authorities and by proposing that Fees should be higher for those schemes that have not collected directly from local authorities.”

Under the JTA proposal, the fee to be paid is based on an escalator so the further away a scheme is from its target, the higher the fee it has to pay.

Ms Baker added: “Secondly, under the JTA system, the Fee payable increases the further a scheme is from their PCS target. This ensures that even a scheme with a relatively small target is incentivised to collect, a key test in Defra’s criteria. The alternative, basing fees on the national target, means a scheme with a relatively small target can collect nothing and yet see virtually no increase in the Fee it pays.”

Valpak

Valpak’s proposal has been modelled on its successful 2016 submission, which bases the level of the fee paid by compliance schemes on WEEE collection and treatment cost data.

This would also be dictated by an escalator which sees schemes which are significantly below their target, and need to use the fee for a greater tonnage, pay a higher per-tonne figure than those which require only a low tonnage.

Commenting on the proposals, Adrian Hawkes, director of policy at Valpak, said: “Our proposal is based upon last year’s successful submission, with some improvements and adaptations in light of the WEEE market in 2017. It is based upon the cost of collection from local authority sites so it is intended to incentivise real collections.

“We have added an element to reflect the fact that most schemes participate in the PBS system [producer compliance scheme balancing system – in order to deal jointly with regulation 34 requests] and we have also considered that 2017 collections seem to be falling short of the targets, so we have made an allowance for that.”

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