back to article Little guy trampled in meaty WEEE overhaul

An independent IT retailer group has slammed the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and accused it of “ignorance” over what the outfit sees as discrimination against small shop owners within the WEEE legislation. ITACS chairman Matthew Woolley told The Register that small UK shops that sell and repair …


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  1. Allan Rutland

    Nothing but a tax

    It's nothing but a tax on small independants. Big chains are paying next to nothing, online places simply ignore it as are the supermarkets as mentioned in the story. It's a joke and one damaging the entire channel.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    But what is the problem?

    I read the article a couple of times, and although I'm mindful of small business' plight, I'm still confused as to the specific problems small businesses are having with WEEE.

    Anyone care to clarify?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ok, the large company i work for has been drilling in to us for months about WEEE, all staff in all stores are to know what it is and what to do about it, and i can say this takes about 2 and a half min, not weeks, what defines electronic wastes is very simple, the name gives is away really and you do not need to dispose of anything, all you need to do is point the customer in the right direction to a local refuse site that deals with electronic waste.

    So this idea its going to cost too much money and time is utter rubbish, in one day i trained 30 odd members of staff in not only this but also various other H&S and legal nonsance and got them to do a little questionare on it!

  4. John

    The problem small businesses have...

    is that even the cheapest scheme that you can join to make the whole fiasco go away for a couple more years costs many hundreds of pounds. The result is that any business that sells hardware as an incidental part of their business (small consulting companies, IT support houses etc), get lumbered with costs that probably exceed their profits from the hardware sales - not to mention the incidental costs of taking key people of of productive work for "training" on how to throw something away. Often they can't just dump the hardware sales either since they are part of what drives other aspects of the business.

    So, that combined with the typical UK gold plating of EU legislation results in a set of rules of Byzantine complexity that most small businesses deal with by exercising the ostrich algorithm (i.e. ignore it and wait and see if any one squeals!).

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  6. Hendy

    Rubbish Return


    Small businesses have to read and understand the regulations which are 70 pages long, amendments add another 12 to that total. You, within what is obviously a large business, only need to be able to understand what weee is and tell your customers what to do with it. Telling customers to take it to the civic amenity site means your company has joined the DTS takeback scheme operated exclusively by Valpak. Your company should have a registration number in regard to this, plenty of leaflets around the store and trained staff able to understand and promote recycling. The minimum fee is £1500 for a small business to register with Valpak. £1500 cost on EEE sales of £100,000 (which may be 25% of total turnover) in that context is highly significant. Your company's Valpak membership fee will be based on items (rather than fixed fee) which returns a fraction of the 1.5% cost per £100,000 of EEE turnover endured by small business. Beyond that there is much more to WEEE that you personally do not have to deal with. Building computers to customer specification can add some £30 of Weee costs to each build; for multi-national producers this added cost can be less that £5. Getting the picture?

    Nevertheless, BERR and the EC are seriously looking at WEEE again and there is a recognition of current disproportionate cost and anti-competitive implementation. Now is the time to tallk and be persuasive within the current BERR WEEE consultation phase. I fear another campaign as mentioned above will simply alienate Itacs from this process. Smaller IT businesses have a voice this time unlike pre-implementation. We should be using it this time through the consultation process, something no-one did on our behalf pre-implementation. Itacs hadn't been formed at that time.

    John, you hit the nail on the head better than I.

  7. Simon B

    DoBERR ?

    Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform =


    I can think of a better name!

  8. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    RE: But what is the problem?

    See the comment by Hendy, if you sell electronic equipment retail then you have to sign up to a scheme and pay money into the "recycling costs" pot. At work we are lucky enough to be able to just not sell anything retail and avoid the problem (mostly). But we still end up with old kit, and it costs us to get it taken away.

    We don't do it, but I can't help thinking that an awful lot of business kit (that isn't sold under one of the retail orientated schemes) gets taken to domestic recyling facilities. Got an old router, access point, small printer, power supply, ..... to get rid off - boss takes it home in car boot, and it ends up at the local civic amenity site instead of the business paying to have it taken away as they should.

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