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‘Dual use’ causing WEEE confusion

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New rules in the WEEE Regulations are causing confusion among the lighting industry. The Environment Agency has written to lamp producers, insisting that recycling data is correctly reported.

New rules were introduced for reporting data on waste electrical and electronic equipment from 1 January 2015. These changes mean that any goods that can be used by both private households and users other than private households (so-called dual use) should be reported in data as household equipment.

For the lamps sector this means that the vast majority of lamps should now be classified as household (labelled as business to consumer or B2C), irrespective of the route that they are sold.

“We have worked with trade associations and all UK WEEE Compliance Schemes to ensure that producers were made aware of the changed position and we have developed guidance which implements these changes clearly and with the least possible disruption to UK producers,” says an Environment Agency (EA) statement.

The EA guidance argues that the majority of lamps are designed and capable of dual use so should be classified as B2C. Gas discharge lamps, LED light sources and sodium lamps fall into this category. Only floodlights for stadiums and lamps used in cinema projectors fall into the business-to-business (B2B) category.

The mid-year data, however, suggests that the new rules have not been adopted by all lamp producers. This will mean, if not corrected, that lamp producers’ market shares and financial obligations for 2016 will be incorrect. “We will, therefore, be undertaking targeted audits of Compliance Schemes and lamps producers to check that data is being correctly reported,” says the EA. Enforcement action may be considered in serious cases.

Lumicom, the producer-compliance scheme for commercial lamps and luminaires, argues that the definitions are causing confusion in the market. “We are in dialogue with the Environment Agency about this,” says Simon Cook, head of sales at Lumicom. “We would argue that no gas discharge or sodium lamps are used in the domestic market, so they shouldn’t be classified as B2C. We advise producers to look at the guidance issued by the EA relating to scope. This establishes whether or not a product is designed for industrial or commercial use and gas discharge and sodium lamps are specifically designed for industrial use.”

To get up to speed with the latest on the WEEE Regulations and your obligations, don’t miss Lux’s FREE webinar, produced in association with Lumicom, on Tuesday 27 October. Register here