UK acts to simplify waste regulations


March 2012

On 19 March, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced its plans to free businesses from issuing Waste Transfer Notes (WTNs), while a full review of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) system will also take place.

The plans are the result of the consultation on cutting red tape in environmental legislation, launched in April 2011. Defra received over 3,500 suggestions from organisations across the environmental sector over the consultation period.

Currently small businesses have the opinion that the requirement for them to complete large quantities of paperwork to record the transfer of their waste is time-consuming and excessive. Each year 23.5 million paper Waste Transfer Notes are produced in the UK. The department is therefore planning to allow businesses to introduce other forms of evidence as an alternative.

thinkstep's pan-European web-based WEEE Compliance System and UK Producer Compliance Scheme, B2BWEEE-Scheme ensures that B2B WEEE producers can provide legally compliant arrangements for business end-users to send equipment directly to a UK AATF for recycling.

At the beginning of 2013, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will also consult on options for alterations to the existing WEEE regulations. The consultation will address concerns regarding the amount that producers have to pay for the collection, treatment, recovery and recycling of their market share of WEEE. One option is giving producers of B2C equipment a fixed minimum tonnage to finance, based on their market share. Another option is a new central allocation system for local authority sites to help B2C Producer Compliance Schemes to fully align collections with their members’ obligations.

In the meantime, BIS will liaise with the industry to find an interim solution. One option is to calculate obligations based on the data from a previous compliance period to help producers pay a more accurate amount.

Defra also aims to reduce the burden of producer responsibility obligations for small businesses, with changes expected to the UK Batteries Regulations so that more small producers of portable batteries may be exempt from the requirement to finance battery take-back and recycling.

thinkstep's WEEE and Batteries Update Services will keep companies informed of changes in UK Waste Policy and how these changes will impact WEEE and Batteries producers in the UK.