Potential for a WEEE recycling design incentive

WEEE Design

August 2012

A report reviewing individual producer responsibility (IPR) in the UK has been produced by a Working Group set up in 2009 by the now non-operational WEEE Advisory Body (WAB) of BIS.

According to the report, an IPR system, where producers have the responsibility for financing or treating their own products when they become waste, would encourage the design of products that are easier to recycle.

At present, the WEEE system in the UK makes producers collectively responsible for the cost of collecting and treating WEEE that is collected for recycling. The treatment of WEEE is financed based on producers’ share of the market. It is the opinion of some critics that under this current system, manufacturers are unlikely to see the financial benefit of designing products that are easy to recycle.

The working group has recommended three options for BIS to consider to increase producer responsibility. The favoured suggestion in the report is to apply a design for recycling and reuse (DfRR) weighting mechanism. This would increase or decrease a producer’s WEEE collection obligation based on the cost of treatment and characteristics of products that it places on the market.