Recycling charges for electrical goods on customer bills from tomorrow

Department of the Environment says it is up to retailers whether the fees are passed on to customers

Phil Hogan:  ‘There has been a magnificent response by the Irish people to the Weee system in Ireland. It is almost unimaginable to us now, but the sight of discarded waste fridges, washing machines and other e-waste was commonplace throughout our countryside and towns only a few short years ago.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Phil Hogan: ‘There has been a magnificent response by the Irish people to the Weee system in Ireland. It is almost unimaginable to us now, but the sight of discarded waste fridges, washing machines and other e-waste was commonplace throughout our countryside and towns only a few short years ago.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Mon, Jun 30, 2014, 01:01

New charges for recycling large electrical household appliances are to be introduced from tomorrow under EU regulations.

Fees of €10 for large fridges and €5 for smaller fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, cookers and large televisions will be included on customers’ bills as part of updated Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Weee) disposal regulations when they buy from retailers.

There will also be a charge of 15 cents for certain types of lighting equipment. The regulations were passed last March, but the charges, known as visible environmental management costs, will come into effect tomorrow.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said it was up to retailers whether the fees were passed on to customers. He said the department did not anticipate that the fees would affect the final price of goods to consumers as the recycling costs were already in the system but are only now becoming visible.

When the Weee system was initially introduced in 2005, “visible environmental management costs” were also brought in, but these had since been removed.

New regulations

Also as part of the new regulations, large electrical retailers will have to accept small appliances from customers for recycling without the customer having to make a purchase.

Retailers must also continue to take back appliances when they are delivering appliances, provided they have given the homeowner 24 hours’ notice of delivery and the old appliance is disconnected.

If the retailer has not given 24 hours’ notice of delivery and an old appliance is not ready for collection, they must return to collect it within 15 days. There will also be no time limit on customers bringing back old electrical goods to stores after they have purchased new goods.

Internet and other distance sellers will also be required to appoint a local agent who will be responsible for ensuring they meet the new regulations.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said they would build on the success of the Weee disposal scheme.

“There has been a magnificent response by the Irish people to the Weee system in Ireland. It is almost unimaginable to us now, but the sight of discarded waste fridges, washing machines and other e-waste was commonplace throughout our countryside and towns only a few short years ago,” he said. Last year, 35,568 tonnes of electrical waste was collected, amounting to 8kg per capita, the Minister said. The EU regulations require that by 2019, 85 per cent of electronic waste generated must be collected.

Mr Hogan said the application of the new “visible environmental costs” would “trigger the introduction of a range of measures to promote and support increased take-back of electrical goods”, including “an incentivisation scheme for electrical retailers”.

He also said there were considerable gains for consumers under the new arrangements, including “significantly more flexible return options as well as improved access to civic amenity sites and an increase in the number of special collection events”.

Mr Hogan added that the support for the system being provided by producers represented a very significant development.