Electronic waste reform shouldn't 'blur the line' of responsibility for producers, says BRC

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that while the retail industry supports reform plans for electronic waste policy, amendments to existing regulation should not "blur the line" of responsibility for producers and distributors.

The statement from the trade association, which represents around 300 major UK retailers, comes as part of a submission in a response to the government’s call for views on reforms to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations 2013 and the enactment of extended producer responsibility (EPR).

The consortium said that its members believe that recycling, including WEEE, is not a "cost-free service" and those involved should be able to "recoup their costs.

“...there must be fairness and transparency on where this financial burden will sit in the [electrical and electronic equipment] producers and distributors," it continued.

The government department for environmental, food and rural affairs (DEFRA) said its proposed reforms to the WEEE regulations are intended to drive up levels of separately collected WEEE for re-use and recycling and that the reforms will support the “drive towards a more circular economy" by ensuring products are designed to have a lower environmental impact than those which we consume today.

The BRC’s response to the proposals outlined a range of guiding principles, stating that the retail industry is supportive of the need for reform to increase the sustainable collection and recycling of WEEE and enable effective pathways for repair and reuse.

The organisation went on to outline 10 key recommendations to the government, including a request that the government dedicate “sufficient time and resources to get a fit-for-purpose, well-designed, and well-timed WEEE” and for the design and timings of the reform to be considered “in light of other ongoing reforms undertaken by Defra.”

“The retail industry will not be able to cope and absorb the costs of massive simultaneous policy overhauls,” BRC said. “The government should have a sequenced approach to the EPR reforms across the board and consider a pragmatic implementation timeline for WEEE.”

Currys launches game to tackle e-waste

The news follows Currys’ launch of ‘Trash Tycoon’, a game created in popular online game Fortnite.

With support from Defra, the electronics retailer said its free-of-charge virtual experience aims to “drive real change from a generation born into tech, by inspiring Gen Z to make better choices when binning unused, unwanted, or even broken tech".

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