17 February 2014
A crucial change to the heart of the UK’s system for governing the recycling of WEEE – waste electrical and electronic equipment – will see the end of evidence ‘trading’ at a Settlement Centre. Instead, compliance schemes will be expected to agree trading directly among themselves with the evidence of recycling sent out by WEEE recyclers.
The change was announced today (February 17) by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) under the heading ‘2013 WEEE Regulations, Evidence Trading’.
‘Under the new system PCSs still have the ability to enter contractual arrangements with each other to assist in achieving their collection targets and are encouraged to do so where that is in the best interests of the parties concerned.’
– Department for Business
In the past a Glasgow-based settlement centre was run on behalf of BIS and was used for the issuing of evidence notes for recycling of WEEE which were surplus to a compliance scheme’s requirements. Some in the sector saw this as the trading of evidence while others consider that trading stopped several years ago because compliance schemes had to work to a plan and that the Settlement Centre merely acted as an administrator.
Now the administration burden will lie with approved authorised treatment facilities (AATFs) which reprocess WEEE and issue evidence per tonne that material has been recycled/reprocessed.
Crucially, compliance schemes who have too much evidence will now have to tell the AATF which scheme to give the evidence too.
For example, if a scheme has 500 tonnes of evidence and only needs 200, it will be expected to reach an agreement with another compliance scheme(s) who need the evidence and then instruct the AATF to issue the balance to the other schemes accordingly.
The issue of evidence ‘trading’ lies at the heart of the WEEE system: in the past there have been concerns that a compliance scheme may have been charging too much for evidence and in effect holding another scheme to ransom. But, there will still have to be commercial negotiations between schemes who either have too much evidence or too little. It is thought that it is unlikely any scheme will be completely in balance as it hard to know precise figures for the evidence needed plus collection of WEEE inevitably may bring with it for example, too many light WEEE items when the scheme needed more large domestic appliances or monitors.
- AATFs will now have the role of sending out evidence notes
With the end of the Settlement Centre system, it is thought that BIS considers it will have brought extra clarity to the concept that compliance schemes should reach agreements among themselves over evidence. Compliance schemes who don’t acquire evidence can still instead pay a ‘compliance fee’ but the cost of this is not yet known.
In its statement today BIS states: “The 2013 WEEE Regulations introduce changes to the household WEEE system primarily by placing a collection target on individual Producer Compliance Schemes. This replaces the system of financial obligation based around WEEE arising that required schemes to finance a share of that obligation based on their members’ market share.
“In the light of this change we have considered carefully whether the functionality on the Settlement Centre that allows PCSs to ‘trade’ evidence between each other is still required. We have concluded that this functionality will not in future be provided.”
The BIS statement continues: “Under the new system PCSs still have the ability to enter contractual arrangements with each other to assist in achieving their collection targets and are encouraged to do so where that is in the best interests of the parties concerned. In those circumstances evidence should be issued to the PCS that will count the collected tonnage towards its collection target.”
BIS guidance is to be updated soon in connection with the issuing of evidence and AATFs