Despite another delay in the implementation of draft regulations for the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, the channel has been warned it cannot afford to sit on its laurels.
The waste management industry has claimed the channel could find it difficult to cope with the directive unless it starts working towards compliance now.
WEEE was due to become law in August, but the final consultation process has not yet begun. The industry and end-users are still waiting not only for the publication of draft regulations, but for draft guidance promised by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the spring.
This has lead to confusion along the whole supply chain, as companies are unclear about the extent of their responsibilities.
Tony Locke, chief analyst at Bloor Research, said: "Industry is just not ready for (WEEE). There hasn't been enough promotion and there hasn't been enough investment to make it work."
The DTI said the final three-month consultation period will begin at the same time as the draft guidance is published.
"We are not giving a specific date but the consultation period will begin soon and the draft guidance will be published at the same time," said a DTI representative.
But the waste management industry claims the DTI could be forced to go back to the drawing board and make changes to the draft guidance.
Phil Reakes, managing director of reseller and distributor Selway Moore's recycling division, said: "People are very nervous about the draft guidance. They are concerned there could be too many loopholes and it won't clearly explain the core responsibilities.
"I can see the guidelines having to be amended."
Many in the channel could find it difficult to cope with the demands of WEEE and build the necessary relationships with the waste management industry, he added.
Clive Murphy, managing director of Trojan Electronics, said: "There are no refining or disposal facilities in the UK and we have to send waste to Belgium. If companies don't [build relationships] they may be forced to take a back seat."
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