Cutting Red Tape in UK e-Waste recycling policy could save the UK £64 million a year

LONDON, UK, June 10, 2013 - A new report commissioned by HP has indicated that the UK could save up to £64m a year if the UK Government’s WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) consultation chooses a Matching Process option which matches collection sites to compliance schemes. It is one of four options The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills WEEE Consultation Paper has set out to meet EU targets.

Dr Kirstie McIntyre, from Hewlett Packard explains: “The current UK WEEE System has led to excessive costs to UK business. The Government has stated that it is determined to cut these costs through its Red Tape Challenge. This report shows that Option 4: the Matching Process provides the best option to cut red tape, saving between £35m and £64m each year. Widespread experience from other EU countries underlines the advantages of Option 4.

The report, prepared by expert consultancy 360 Environmental, shows that doing nothing would leave businesses with an excessive cost of £60m per annum, while Option 2, to implement a National Producer Compliance Scheme, creates the biggest long term cost. The forecast annual cost to producers would be between £69m and £444m per annum based on experiences elsewhere in the EU.

The final option, a target and compliance fee system (Option 3) would also cut red tape, but not to the same degree, with savings of only £11m to £26m each year.

Dr McIntyre continued: “A Matching Process provides Local Authorities with greater flexibility and choice than the current system and will support efforts to increase collection. It provides collectors of WEEE with the flexibility to choose by waste stream, between a producer collection scheme or managing WEEE collection independently and retaining the value of this WEEE".

The report estimates that the retained value of WEEE could generate revenues to local authorities of £20m per year. Enhancements to the current Option 4 could also provide ongoing funding to support awareness raising, innovations in collection methods and infrastructure improvements.

The report’s author, Phil Conran from 360 Environmental, said: “Option 3 potentially allows a risk that excessive costs could remain. Within Option 3 it is possible for costs to continue both through the auctioning of collection sites to producer compliance schemes, and through the effective trading of evidence. Without effective control, these would both cause a proportion of the excessive costs and red tape to remain.

Phil Conran continued: “The Compliance Fee is likely to contribute towards additional margins that we have not been able to model in this report. For example, the Compliance Fee could be used as a benchmark for trading prices and could therefore become the de facto base cost of compliance. Compliance schemes wishing to sell evidence via direct contractual arrangements will know that they will only need to provide a marginal discount to this base price. This could further limit the reduction of red tape costs.

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