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BRC proposes new Distributor Take-back Scheme

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged the new Conservative government to ensure a fresh Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) is put in place to boost electrical equipment waste collection in 2020.

The DTS has been operated on behalf of the BRC for 12 years by Valpak Retail WEEE Services, but the arrangement is due to end on 31 December 2019. 

With the general election over and a new majority government in place, the BRC has said the environment secretary, currently Theresa Villiers, must make sure the DTS is able to continue to support Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) collection in the UK.

It is the government’s responsibility that sustainable progress in the retail industry continues to accelerate, the trade association said today (16 December), as it laid out an in-depth proposal here.

Peter Andrews, head of sustainability at the BRC, said: “A new DTS is vital if the UK is to continue delivering one of the highest collection rates for WEEE in Europe.

“Retailers have provided over £13 million in funding to local authorities through the scheme to increase the collection and recycling of WEEE. A new DTS will further increase the UK’s WEEE collection point network, making it more convenient for more consumers, whilst raising greater public awareness of the importance of WEEE recycling.”

He added: “A new DTS is needed to maintain the recycling momentum until the government reviews the regulations in two years. The DTS will provide key information to help decision makers when reviewing the WEEE regulations.”

Fiona Thompson, international & environmental compliance consultant at Valpak, commented: “As well as giving retailers time to plan, the interim period would also enable the DTS to gather valuable data on the most effective ways to implement consumer take-back schemes.

“For example, are supermarkets more popular with consumers to return WEEE items to than out of town retail parks? Building a bank of robust data will enable government and industry to be much better positioned to make an informed choice in the future.”