Today Defra has amended the guidance for submitting a proposal for the WEEE compliance fee methodology, to ensure the impacts of COVID-19 are taken into account.
The WEEE compliance fee exists to enable compliance schemes to reach compliance when there is a shortfall of evidence available in the market for them to satisfy their obligations. Sadly this has been a long standing problem with WEEE collection targets missed for three years running, making the WEEE compliance fee an essential and much relied upon mechanism.
Money raised through the compliance fee is managed by the WEEE Fund to improve WEEE collections and recycling, with over £10 million collected through the 2017 and 2018 compliance periods alone. Just last month the WEEE Fund announced over £5 million of support for recyclers and charities impacted by COVID-19, plus the launch of a new awareness campaign to encourage WEEE recycling.
Factor in the impacts of COVID-19
Each year Defra invites proposals for the methodology of the compliance fee to ensure it is fair and reflective of market conditions. Following consultation with stakeholders, including Ecosurety, today Defra has updated the guidance for submitting a compliance fee methodology proposal to make it clear that the proposals should take into account the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, which is expected to be significant.
A decrease in WEEE collections is expected and Defra has already revised the collection targets down from the proposed targets for 2020. It has also indicated to market that a compliance fee mechanism will again be considered, to offset poor collection performance related to COVID-19.
Engagement has been excellent
Ecosurety procurement manager Sue Nolan commented "The compliance fee should ensure that costs are kept reasonable so we do not need to act as if we are in a rising market at this time of crisis. It must ensure a sensible approach for what is the safety valve of the WEEE market."
Meanwhile head of policy at Ecosurety, Robbie Staniforth, commented “The engagement with industry from Defra during this difficult period has been excellent. We are pleased to see them incorporate feedback into the newly released guidance. While WEEE collections have significantly reduced due to business and recycling centre closures, it is particularly heartening to see them stress the critical importance of compliance schemes continuing to deliver as much WEEE to treatment facilities as possible.”
“Unfortunately, the guidance is unlikely to entice new parties to submit proposals to operate the fee. The complexity of the system means it would entail a significant amount of work in order to compete with the well-established proposals submitted annually. Having a diverse range of ideas to choose from is essential for ensuring the best possible outcome. It is difficult to see how this issue can be addressed.”
If you have any questions or comments to make about the WEEE compliance fee, please contact our team.
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.