A recycling network will be set up across the UK to deal with the country’s unwanted electrical and electronic goods.
It’s part of plans announced by the government to ensure the UK complies with the Waste electronic and electrical equipment (Weee) directive, which was drawn up in 2003. Implementation in the UK has been beset by delays, and objections by the industry.
But now, the has launched a consultation and the plans are due to come into force in July 2007. Manufacturers and importers would then foot the bill for recycling items such as toasters, cookers and fridges.
Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: ‘Electrical equipment is the fastest growing category of rubbish across the European Union, with around 20kg per person produced every year, and the UK alone is now generating around one million tonnes of the stuff every year.
‘These proposals are good for consumers, good for responsible producers and good for our environment. By providing a way of ensuring that electronic waste no longer has to go to landfills, manufacturers and importers will have the responsibility to ensure that they plan for both their new and existing products to be recycled rather than dumped.’
Britain’s biggest business group, the CBI, called on the rules to be brought in ‘without further delay’ while the said the directive would ‘help contribute towards creating a better environment for everyone.’
However, the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances called the measures ‘unworkable’ without the introduction of a compulsory charge which consumers would pay towards recycling costs at point of purchase.