Two WEEE compliance fee methodologies are up for consideration, originally submitted by Valpak and the Joint Trade Association (JTA), released in a consultation by Defra this week. Importantly, both methodologies ensure that the impacts of COVID-19 are accounted for. 

The WEEE compliance fee is an important mechanism that allows schemes to remain compliant in the event of there being a shortfall of recycling evidence available to meet their obligations.  WEEE collection targets have been missed for the last three years, and are very likely to be missed again this year, so the fee has become an essential mechanism.

Material Focus manages the millions raised through the fee which are used for important campaigns such as Recycle your electricals and for supporting the recycling industry. £2.5m of grants and interest-free loans were distributed by Material Focus to support the electrical waste and re-use sector hit by the COVID-19 crisis and in September they also launched a request for research proposals requiring up to £50,000 that can address the significant losses of electrical waste each year.

Every year Defra encourages industry to submit a compliance fee methodology that accounts for current market conditions, and were clear in guidance released earlier this year that impacts relating to COVID-19 should be prioritised. This guidance adds further complexities to the fee mechanism.

The two methodologies proposed for 2020 contain several differences, but essentially try to evaluate the effect of COVID-19 on national WEEE collections and calculate compliance thresholds accordingly. They both include a contribution toward administrative costs and the fund managed by Material Focus – in the JTA’s submission they propose a ‘Variable Administrative Cost’ and in Valpak’s a flat £2000 contribution.

Have your say

Both proposals can be found here, alongside other consultation documents released by Defra. The consultation will close on 9 November 2020.

If you have any questions or comments to make about the WEEE compliance fee, please contact our team. You can also arrange a WEEE collection using our simple online form by clicking here.