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WEEE regulations approved ready for launch in New Year

A new strategy to produce less lighting waste has been put before Parliament, ready to come into force in the New Year.

The new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations have been approved following a consultation earlier this year which showed a strong appetite within the industry to overhaul the system.

The revised regulations will impact the lighting industry in several ways, although Recolight – one of the largest compliance schemes – says the new law is fairer and will encourage more recycling.

Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said: “The UK is the first EU Member State to have transposed the recast WEEE directive into national law. That is an excellent achievement for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) – particularly given that some of the changes being made in the UK were far more wide ranging, and frequently more controversial than in most other Member States. The final outcome is a system that is fairer, will encourage higher recycling rates, and should ensure that the UK meets the targets laid down in the recast directive.”

When it comes to household WEEE, the system will be based on targets for Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs). If the targets aren’t met, the producers have the option of paying a fee. Recolight says this means PCSs no longer have to buy recycling evidence from over-collecting schemes.

There is currently confusion over categories. Recolight says that all lighting that uses an integrated LED light source has been put into the same category as gas discharge lamps (category 13). This is a decision that was widely supported in the consultation. However, Simon Cook from Lumicom said that it had received a document from the Environment Agency that explains the first 10 categories, but doesn’t explain categories 11 to 14. Cook said that it was not yet clear which luminaire fell into what category.

Companies that come under the new small producer category – producing fewer than five tonnes of equipment – can now register direct with the Environment Agency for £30 per year.

Responsibility for financing collection and treatment costs can no longer be passed to the business end-user for non-household equipment, unless there’s a direct agreement. The responsibility lies with the producer when sales go through intermediaries such as wholesalers.

“We are really pleased that BIS has listened to the concerns raised by producers. The red tape challenge has been effective at converting the problems raised, into legislative change,” said Harvey.

“It is also important to note that the changes recognise the transformation taking place in the lighting industry, as gas discharge lamps are replaced by LED lamps, and increasingly by LED luminaires.”

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