A new report by HP has indicated that UK businesses could save up to £50m if the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) Regulations were improved to ensure only the actual costs of recycling were charged to producers.

The study revealed that producers are paying around £50m more to meet the UK WEEE Regulations than the actual costs of recycling this material. Recent increases in commodity prices have sent the value of WEEE soaring to the extent that overall, there is now a positive net value in end of life electrical and electronic equipment, even taking collection costs into consideration.

The HP report reveals that excessive prices continue to be charged for complying with UK WEEE Regulations. A survey of producers indicated that there has been little change in the prices they have paid since the regulations began. The main reason for this, the report states, is that the market had settled into a convenient operating position at the expense of manufacturers and consumers.

Dr Kirstie McIntyre, head of environmental compliance at HP in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, explained, “Under current UK regulations producers are not charged the actual costs of recycling. Instead prices are agreed between producers’ compliance schemes and waste management companies acting on behalf of municipalities. This hidden and complex price setting means that whilst the actual costs of recycling have fallen, the costs charged to producers have remained the same. Changes to regulations could save businesses £50m.”