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WEEE delayed

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The Department of Trade and Industry has confirmed that the UK’s implementation of an EU law requiring businesses to recycle their old IT, electronics and electrical equipment will be delayed until October.

The Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Restricting Certain Hazardous Substances (ROHS) Directive in electrical goods came into effect in February 2003. It should be implemented in all member states by August 2004.

It sets criteria for the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment. It makes “producers” responsible for financing most of these activities, and the DTI suggests a maximum penalty of two-years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine for those failing to comply. Producers include manufacturers and resellers of equipment purchased outside the EU. Private householders are to be able to return such equipment without charge.

Last week, citing a delay in publishing the draft regulations and guidance notes, the DTI confirmed that it would not meet the implementation deadline of 13 August 2004.

The drafts are due to be published in the next few weeks and a three-month consultation period will follow. The DTI hopes that the regulations will be laid before parliament for approval shortly thereafter.

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