The government has issued UK businesses with a timetable for implementing the EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The key proposals for the disposal of electical waste are to be introduced from 1 July 2007.

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.

“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.”

The timetable marks the final stage in the government’s process for implementing the WEEE Directive following a review of implementation proposals last December.

The key proposals include a national Distributor Takeback Scheme which will establish a network of Designated Collection Facilities enabling consumers to return their used items for recycling or reuse. There will be obligatory registration for electrical producers through approved compliance schemes. Authorised treatment facilities will be provided, which will process WEEE and provide evidence to producers on the amount of WEEE received for treatment.

There will also be accredited reprocessing and recycling facilities which will provide evidence of reprocessing to producers. An end-of-year settlement will ensure producers are able to meet their obligations via an exchange system. Producers can voluntary show the cost of handling historical WEEE.

Liz Parkes from the Environment Agency said, "The regulations will lead to less waste going to landfills and more materials being made available for recycling. Making sure waste is dealt with in an environmentally responsible manner is a priority for us.”