Government to tackle online sellers avoiding waste laws

Non-compliant sellers, such as those listing their products on Amazon, will now be liable for compliance of their lamps and luminaires they sell online with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation.

INTERNET suppliers of lighting must take responsibility for the costs of recycling and waste management of their products, the Government has declared.

‘We’ve campaigned long and hard for this change,’ says Recolight boss Nigel Harvey.

Non-compliant sellers will now be liable for compliance of their lamps and luminaires they sell online with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation.  That’s the position set out in the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, released this morning.

The news was welcomed by Nigel Harvey, chief of the industry WEEE compliance scheme, Recolight. ‘The move to making online sellers responsible for WEEE compliance of the product they sell is very welcome.

‘Recolight has campaigned long and hard for this change.  The level of WEEE avoidance on some major marketplaces is very high – our research showed that 76 per cent of LED bulbs available on one site were in breach of the WEEE regulations.’

‘That non-compliance is damaging to the competitiveness of compliant companies.  It also means that the recycling of some lighting products might, in the long term, become unfunded.

‘We do, however, hope that the Government will consult on options before their backstop deadline of end 2020.  The sooner this loophole is closed, the better.

‘What’s more, WEEE could just be the tip of the non-compliance iceberg. The Resources and Waste Strategy aims to ensure internet sellers meet their obligations under the WEEE, waste batteries and waste packaging regulations.

‘But there’s more.  The Lighting Industry Association’s laboratories have shown an alarming level of non-compliance of lighting products bought through online marketplaces with electrical safety standards.

WEEE compliance schemes organise the collection of end-of-life lamp and luminaires, such as fluorescent tubes, and their recycling.

‘The newly-published strategy also states that the Government will consult on how to amend the WEEE regulations to encourage better designed products.  Clearly there are several ways in which this might be achieved.  One option could be to modulate fees – or collection obligations to incentivise the sale of more environmentally friendly products.’

Compliance schemes such as Recolight take on the responsibility for its members’ WEEE compliance, giving their customers access to lamp and luminaire collection and recycling services, ensuring that waste lighting equipment is kept out of landfill.

Since 2007, Recolight has funded the recycling of 300 million lamps, LEDs and luminaires.


  • Learn more about WEEE compliance at LuxLive 2019, taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019. Entry is free if you pre-register. More information HERE.