At the beginning of April, some of the ecosurety team went along to the trade/professionals morning at Gadget Show Live to get a feel for the latest trends and products set to hit the technology marketplace.
We discovered some amazing new technology and also gained an insight into the general awareness levels of the WEEE regulations within the world of the tech start-up.
Almost every stand had on display at least one product that conveyed ‘connected living’. Whether it was a watch, thermostat, bike or surround-sound system; these products could connect to your smart phone or computer and feed real-time information back to a co-developed app or program.
The idea is to enable more control. Smart Home Equipment is a great case in point. On display were systems that could be pre-programmed to put the heating on at a given time, or set your lights to come on in sequence to make it look like you were at home. Together with virtual reality headsets, these were the most promoted technologies at the show.
A large number of the products on show also looked subtle and concealed their technological capability within their design. This theme was seen through watches, display projectors, bikes, scooters and clocks. Neat, subtle products designed to make our lives easier is the way forward it seems.
Gadget Show Live, to its credit, was keen to promote the UK as a creative hub for entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators. It even ran a competition for best new product, which was won by an inventor who had brought a product idea to reality.
Interestingly, many of the new start-ups we spoke to were aware of WEEE regulations, but less so on what they needed to do to actually comply. With new tech start-ups and products appearing so often, it is important to remember that no matter the company size, registration is required within 28 days of an electronic product being placed on the market.
Tricky WEEE categorisation
From a compliance perspective these new tech products clearly come under the scope of the WEEE Regulations, but as they are so new it is difficult to determine which WEEE category they should be reported under. For example, would a VR headset be classified as display equipment or consumer equipment? Or would a smart metering kit be classified as measuring & monitoring equipment or display equipment as it comes with a monitor?
For new tech products where the WEEE reporting category isn’t clear we’re happy to help with scoping recommendations and also to question the Environment Agency anonymously on behalf of producers.
If your company places tech products onto the UK market, contact us to run through how the WEEE Regulations may impact your business by calling 0845 094 2228 or email WEEE@ecosurety.com.
Innovation and policy director
Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.
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