Channel scores a victory in WEEE disposal fight

Channel scores a victory in WEEE disposal fight

Small VARs to benefit from local authority consent to dispose of IT kit at amenity sites

The battle to persuade the government to shoulder some of the cost of old IT equipment disposal has taken a turn in the channel’s favour.

In July, the Independent Trade Association of Computing Specialists (Itacs) kicked off a campaign to get the government to allow small VARs and system builders to take their old IT kit to local civic amenity sites.

Itacs joined forces with the National Association of Specialist Computer Retailers (NASCR) to meet with the Department of Trade and Industry [now rebranded the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)], over the issue.

Initially, BERR passed the buck and claimed each local authority could decide its own policy on the take-back of IT equipment in relation to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations.

But Hendy Armstrong, Itacs secretary, said: “Following our campaigning, BERR started to work towards facilitating our industry to deposit WEEE at civic amenity sites by persuading local authorities to change their policies. It initially got two local authorities to agree when we met them in London in July and now it has persuaded more councils to enable small IT players to deposit their WEEE at the local facilities.

“When we first launched the campaign, the cost implications for small businesses of transporting and returning WEEE made dire reading. So to be able to take WEEE back to our local amenity sites, even if we have to pay a nominal charge, is so much better,” he said.

Mike Lawrence, managing director of VAR Bentpenny, said: “Essentially, the small business has caught the ear of both central and local government and a policy change has been made, which does not happen very often. Itacs should be very proud of what it has achieved.”

Anthony Knee, owner of Keen PCs, welcomed the achievement, but felt more still needed to be done to help the channel comply with WEEE. “We need easy-to-understand guidance, written specifically for our industry ­ almost a dummy’s guide to WEEE,” he said.