Government launches WEEE Consultation and Call for Evidence to aid policy decisions on longer term reform of the WEEE Regulations
As we advised in REP-INF-1098, Government has commenced a ten-week consultation on changes to the WEEE Regulations, some of which may take effect later this year, and a call for evidence on areas where Government thinks further changes may be beneficial, but considers more information is required to determine future policy.
The proposed changes will increase the financing obligations of producers, we have organised a scheme member meeting in London on 25th January 2024 at which we will provide a detailed explanation of the proposed changes and their potential financial implications. We will also hold more targeted briefings and provide supporting guidance notes that you can circulate within your business.
Government advises that the consultation, which is available here, is focused on increasing the collections of WEEE by increasing convenience for consumers, including through kerbside collection, instore takeback and collection of large WEEE by retailers providing a delivery service. Producers will be required to finance the full net costs of collection and treatment of electrical products when they become waste, which will include financing the kerbside collection scheme and collection from retailers’ premises. To ensure that costs to producers are fairly distributed, it is proposed to establish a separate category for vapes and that online marketplaces and fulfilment houses are responsible for meeting producer obligations for sellers based outside the UK.
The call for evidence, which is available here, considers opportunities for additional reform to increase collection, reuse and recycling of WEEE to achieve a circular economy. The evidence received will be used to define future policy, rather than immediate reform of the UK WEEE system. It includes topics that will impact producers’ costs such as further defining full net costs, changes to the current system of collection targets, eco-modulation to incentivise sustainable product design, collections from businesses and incentivising reuse.
It is important that Government hears the view of producers’ and we look forward to working with you in developing a response to this important consultation. We will also be working closely with the Joint Trades Association (JTA) to ensure a co-ordinated producer response to the consultation and call for evidence. If you have any queries or would like to discuss aspects of the consultation, please contact Louise Grantham (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline for responses is 7th March 2024.
Defra advises a delay in Small Producer EPR Reporting and Nation of Sale Reporting
Defra has advised changes to planned reporting responsibilities under EPR for:
- Small Producers, which are businesses that exceed £1m annual turnover and supply over 25 tonnes of packaging in 2023, but which did not meet both of the large producer thresholds of £2m annual turnover or 50 tonnes of packaging in 2023. Data reporting will not be required as planned in April 2024. However, 2023 data is still required to be collected.
- Producers which are Sellers, Online Marketplaces, Distributors, Service Providers or Importers that discard packaging, are not required to report Nation Reporting as was planned in December 2024 for packaging supplied in 2023. Nation Reporting is the reporting of data regarding the nation in the UK to which these producers have supplied packaging and where it has been discarded. Whilst it does not have to be reported, 2023 data is still required to be collected.
The Guidance on GOV.UK has been updated to reflect that small producers do not need to report 2023 data in 2024, although the guidance on Nation Reporting is currently unchanged.
The temporary Data Reporting SI will be amended to include future obligations for reporting small producer and nation of sale data and to widen the criteria that enables packaging to be classed as non-household and therefore not subject to EPR Disposal Costs. We do not have details of the changes to the definition of household packaging yet, however, will engage with our packaging members once this is known to ensure you only incur EPR Disposal Costs for packaging that must legitimately be defined as Household Packaging.
Defra invites stakeholder input into the design of their Recyclability Assessment Methodology (RAM)
Participate in Defra’s RAM Design Survey before 10th January 2024
As we have previously advised, Household Packaging will be subject to EPR Disposal Costs, which will be adjusted for each producer depending upon whether their packaging meets criteria specified by Defra (“modulation”). Initially modulation will be for specified materials (“early years modulation”), however, in future, modulation will be based on the Recyclability Assessment Methodology.
Defra is looking for stakeholder input to help advise development of the RAM. This will impact the fees that you pay for Household Packaging in future, so this is an opportunity to shape the design. You can participate by completing the survey at Stakeholder Views on RAM Design Survey (surveymonkey.com)
The Environment Agency has extended the circumstances under which WEEE must be stored
Many REPIC producer members store their WEEE in England under a S2 exemption, which enables its storage without an environmental permit being required, subject to specified criteria. The Environment Agency has extended the circumstances under which WEEE must be stored under cover to use this exemption. All WEEE containing hazardous materials or fluids, or the storing of whole appliances or parts that are to be reused, is now required to be stored under weatherproof covering.
Further details on current S2 exemption conditions are available here.
There are also future changes to the exemption regime planned. These will affect some organisations storing WEEE and batteries and are as detailed in Government’s Supplementary Response to their consultation on “reducing crime at sites handling waste and introducing fixed penalties for waste duty of care”, which is available here. Whilst these changes will not take effect until 12 months after the Environmental Permitting Regulations have been amended, since some activities that are currently covered by an exemption may need to be permitted in future, organisations storing waste under S1 or S2 exemptions should start to prepare for the changes. We will provide further details of the changes affecting WEEE and battery storage in our February newsletter.
January deadlines relating to EEE, Batteries and Packaging
The deadline for you to provide us with your Q4 2023 EEE and Portable Battery placed on the market data is 21st January 2024. As this is your final data submission for the 2023 compliance year, please take the opportunity to review your data for the full year. If you identify any changes are required, please contact Jack Studholme (email@example.com).
We will shortly be sending our packaging scheme members the current “Organisation Details” that we hold and will need to submit to the Environment Agency for your Packaging Waste Regulations Registration and EPR reporting. Please check, update and return this information by Monday 15th January 2024. If you have any queries regarding this please contact Vikki Law (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are registered as a small producer for portable batteries or WEEE, you must submit your 2023 portable battery or EEE data directly to the Environment Agency before the 31st January 2024.
If you are no longer eligible to register as a small producer of either portable batteries or WEEE please contact Janette Ollerhead and she can advise further email@example.com