Public backs changes to recycling regulations

Proposed changes to the UK’s WEEE regulations, which aim to make the recycling of lighting products and other electrical goods cheaper and fairer, have received public backing in a government consultation.

There was strong support for measures to fix flaws in the WEEE system which allow middlemen to make big profits at the expense of producers. Of the four options that the government put forward to deal with this, half of respondents said they backed a system which would see recycling schemes matched up with individual waste collection facilities.

Eighty four per cent of respondents backed a proposal to bring LEDs into the same WEEE category as gas discharge lamps – reflecting the fact that many of the LED products being sold today are used to replace gas discharge lamps, which then have to be recycled.

The consultation received 256 responses to its 23 questions. The revised version of the UK regulations, which are being updated to comply with the new European WEEE Directive, will now be finalised, addressing concerns from manufacturers and lamp recycling schemes about the costs associated with the system.

Nigel Harvey, CEO of lamp recycling scheme Recolight, said: ‘The strong levels of support for changing the WEEE system give the government a powerful mandate. This proposal will benefit the lighting industry and its customers, by avoiding the risk of an unfunded fluorescent lamp waste stream.’

The government is expected to announce publish draft regulations by the end of September, and the new regulations should come into effect at the start of 2014.

Read Lux's report on the WEEE consultation here.