Channel confusion and uncertainly has cast a shadow over the new deadlines set by the government last week for implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive.
The directive, which rules on the safe disposal of IT equipment, was expected to come into force in January next year, after the original deadline of August 2005 was postponed.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has pushed the deadline back to June 2006 to enable those affected by the directive to develop compliance processes and procedures.
Malcolm Wicks, a DTI minister, said the disposal and recycling of IT equipment rests with manufacturers and retailers. “This directive is about dealing effectively with electrical waste that can be damaging to the environment. It is challenging and has required a lot of planning and preparation,” he said.
However, resellers remain unclear as to their responsibilities. Kevin Drew, managing director of ISV Triangle, said: “There is very little understanding about WEEE. Resellers will suffer if they don’t get to grips with it, and most of them think it is the vendors’ responsibility.”
John Adams, managing director of reseller Mintra, said: “Few VARs will be bothered about WEEE. It is dangerous to bring in misunderstood and unenforceable laws.
Indirectly, we are aware of it, but we have had no contact with the government to help us, and we have little idea of how or where to dispose of specific obsolete kit.”
Other sources wondered whether the June 2006 deadline will be attainable if the government does not offer more details and assistance.
Louise Marshall, corporate risk manager at Brother UK, said resellers should also consider costs.
“Ultimately, there will be a cost increase, but plenty of businesses will meet this internally. Resellers don’t understand what they need to do to comply, but they need to begin taking it seriously now,” she said.
Since 13 August, resellers have been obliged to attach wheelie-bin logos to applicable IT equipment, or return it back to the manufacturer under WEEE. They could also face fines and prosecution if they fail to comply with the separate Hazardous Waste Directive (HWD), which came into force last month (CRN, 25 June).
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