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Prepare for WEEE or pay the penalty

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The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive comes into force in August. Alongside the Directive on the Restriction of Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS), it has significant implications for companies in the electrical sector.

The WEEE Directive requires producers of electrical and electronic equipment to finance collection arrangements for their products at the end-of-life. This includes the cost of appropriate treatment and meeting specific targets for recycling and recovery.

It applies retrospectively to products already on the market.

The RoHS Directive will prohibit the sale and marketing of electrical and electronic goods that contain: Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, or Hexavalent chromium. Flame retardants Polybrominated biphenyls (PBDE) and Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBB) will also be banned.

The legislation applies to electrical and electronic equipment manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers and those re-selling under their own brand products such as:

Electrical and electronic tools

Lighting equipment

Monitoring and control instruments

IT & Telecom equipment

Large household appliances

Small household goods

Consumer equipment

It requires producers to separate the collection of products from households and businesses, develop recycling and recovery programmes and maintain accurate records.

The DTI has yet to determine specific enforcement measures such as penalties and inspection but a spokesperson for the Department said it hoped to have set procedures in place by late spring.

“Although not set in stone, they are likely to be in line with the standard penalties for similar legislation such as the ELV Directive (End of Life Vehicles – WEEE’s counterpart in the automotive industry) which would mean the maximum penalty in a court is £5,000. If it goes to a Crown Court then the fine could be unlimited.”

To raise awareness of the likely implications, the inspection, testing and verification company SGS United Kingdom is running a series of one-day seminars that will discuss the new legislation and practical steps to ensure compliance.

In addition, delegates can learn of the services offered by SGS – such as environmental management systems, environmental training and testing electrical equipment to the WEEE and RoHS Directives – to ease the process for producers to meet government requirements.

The seminars will be held at six venues nationwide from late March and throughout April. The cost is £195 + Vat per delegate, which includes a buffet lunch.

By referring to Electrical Times, readers are offered a 10% discount per delegate for a space at the seminar.

For details on your nearest seminar, please contact Taz Azeez on +44 (0) 1276 697877 or e-mail taz_azeez@sgs.com.

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