With the Treaty of Lisbon (Article 50) now triggered, the UK has two years to agree on which EU laws to “scrap, amend and improve” ahead of Brexit.
One of those laws is 2012/19/EU – or the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) – which became EU law in February 2003. Like most other European countries, the UK was initially slow to adopt the directive as law. But in 2007, it was brought in to cover any appliance with a plug or batteries, including (but not limited to):
Since then, UK retailers and distributors have been required to provide a way for customers to dispose of their old household electrical and electronic equipment when selling them a new version of the same item.
So with the Brexit clock now ticking – and EU laws facing parliamentary scrutiny – how will article 50 affect UK electrical manufacturers and retailers’ WEEE obligations?
At present, it appears Brexit will have no bearing whatsoever on WEEE requirements; on 30th March 2017, government ministers announced all EU environmental laws will apply to post-Brexit Britain.
As outlined in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXEU)’s recent Great Repeal white paper, the ‘whole body’ of the UK environmental laws will be safeguarded in UK law prior to Brexit. That includes those adopted as a result of EU legislation, like the WEEE Directive.
It’s possible. One of the key drivers behind the successful Brexit campaign was to give the UK greater control over its own laws. And as DEXU’s March white paper stated:
“The Great Repeal Bill will ensure that the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law. This will provide businesses and stakeholders with maximum certainty as we leave the EU. We will then have the opportunity, over time, to ensure our legislative framework is outcome driven and delivers on our overall commitment to improve the environment within a generation. The Government recognises the need to consult on future changes to the regulatory frameworks, including through parliamentary scrutiny.”
So while the WEEE Directive has been ported into UK law and will be safeguarded, the current government is clearly open to reviewing it in the future.
Current laws require any WEEE item that’s refurbished for re-use to be accompanied by evidence notes from an accredited approved authorised treatment facility (AATF). As there are no solid plans to change these laws in the future, it’s important to engage a return-to-market partner with the correct accreditations in place.
As an AATF, Servicecare works with its partners to meet the requirements of the WEEE legislation whilst also providing total traceability. So you can be safe in the knowledge your waste electrical items will be properly disposed of.