THE IMPACT OF PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY
DIRECTIVES ON HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT
1. Ultimately the End of Life Vehicles Directive
(ELV Directive) will assist the responsible treatment of old scrap
cars by ensuring that adequate systems will be available for the
proper treatment and de-pollution of cars and can deliver the
2. A long-term environmental benefit of
the ELV directive is that it makes provision to ban the use of
hazardous substances in the manufacture of new cars, with exemptions
for certain specific applications eg uses of lead. In time, cars
arising as ELVs from these requirements will contain fewer hazardous
wastes requiring treatment and/or disposal.
3. In due course, through arrangements yet
to be put in place, full producer responsibility will be effected
by requiring the producer to incorporate the ELV costs of dealing
with new cars that are eventually scrapped into the price of the
vehicle. The treatment costs of existing ELVs, arising as waste
over the next few years, will be met by the last owner. Hence
while not the main thrust of the Directive, the Agency has stated
its concern that adequate consideration should be given to resolving
the potential problem of abandoned vehicles. Government has recognised
this as an issue.
4. There is an interaction with the Hazardous
Waste Directive. In the EU, ELVs are classified as hazardous waste
as a result of the revised hazardous waste list, which became
effective at EU level on 1 January 2002. They will not be subject
to UK special waste controls on their movement and for waste licensing
until Government makes appropriate implementing legislation (they
are not special waste under current regulations). When ELVs are
classified as hazardous facilities accepting them will have to
comply with the stricter requirements of waste management licensing
for hazardous waste facilities and consignment as hazardous waste.
This could exacerbate the issue of car abandonment to avoid likely
costs to the last owner of scrapping it.
5. The due date for transposition of the
ELV directive is 21 April 2002. Government has decided that the
two main elements of the legislationi) permitting of ELV
treatment plants and ii) the producer responsibility aspects,
will be kept separate and therefore subject to different consultation
6. DEFRA is in the lead for the permitting
and DTI for producer responsibility. It is expected that there
will be consultation on both of these in the Summer of 2002, and
for Regulations in the Autumn. We do not have a timetable available
for either set of Regulations. Our understanding is that some
of the requirements for implementing ELV directive should be completed
by late 2002 and both sets of regulations will most probably be
in force by Summer 2003.
7. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
(WEEE) Directive is still passing through its negotiation stages
in Europe. The Council of Ministers and European Parliament are
yet to conclude this process. It is expected to be October 2002
at the earliest before the Directive has passed through all the
necessary steps to become European law.
8. The Directive seeks to ensure that end-of-life
electronic equipment is recycled. It is expected to contain targets
for collection and recycling. Member States will have to ensure
that separate collection schemes are set up that allow WEEE from
private householders to be collected at no charge to the final
holder. Responsibility for historical waste (ie products placed
on the market before the directive is adopted) is to be shared
by all existing producers.
9. The new EU Hazardous Waste List impacts
on WEEE. This identifies wastes from electrical and electronic
equipment containing hazardous components as hazardous waste.
This includes, for example, accumulators and batteries, mercury
switches, glass from cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and other "activated
glass". CRTs would mean television tubes and computer monitors.
10. When the revised Hazardous Waste List
is implemented CRTs in televisions, computers, etc from commercial
and industrial units would need to be treated as hazardous waste.
11. For waste recovery operations: reclassifying
some WEEE as hazardous waste would mean that it would need to
be consigned, with appropriate notification, only to facilities
authorised to treat hazardous waste. Any operation involving export
for recycling of hazardous waste to countries that are outside
the OECD area will not be possible as it would be in breach of
the Basel Convention, to which the UK is a party. Export to another
OECD or EU country would be acceptableas long as it is
for genuine recovery and not disposal. This would be subject to
notification under the EU Waste Shipments Regulation.
12. For disposal operations by landfill
under the Landfill Directive, hazardous WEEE will need to be consigned
to either a suitable hazardous waste landfill (or special cell
of a non-hazardous landfill) or, if treated, to a non-hazardous
waste landfill meeting the waste acceptance criteria.
13. For hazardous WEEE from householdsthis
is currently not covered by the Hazardous Waste Directive as it
would be regarded as household waste and exempted from the provisions
of the HWD (just asbestos from households is "special"
waste by current UK Regulations). Under the Landfill Directive
domestic televisions for example, provided they are collected
together with other household waste, could be disposed of at landfill
sites designated to accept municipal waste. But the new Hazardous
Waste List identifies certain separately collected fractions of
household waste as hazardous. When this is brought into force,
then domestic televisions would need to be treated as hazardous
14. Local authorities would be able to deal
with CRTs/TVs with their collection services but only from household
sources. Householders can continue to deliver to local authority
provided ("CA") sites at least until the WEEE directive
is implemented in UK Regulations (perhaps mid-2004) and probably
15. In parallel with the WEEE directive
is the proposal for a directive on the Restriction of the use
of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical & electronic
waste (RoHS). This proposal is intended to achieve the phase out
of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, as well as the
brominated flame retardants PBB and PBDEs, from use in new electrical
and electronic equipment by 1 January 2008.
8 July 2002