Green campaigners concerned at closure of WEEE body

Some campaigners who promote the recycling and reuse of electronic equipment have expressed concern over the news that the government is axing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Advisory Body (WAB).

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Some campaigners who promote the recycling and reuse of electronic equipment have expressed concern over the news that the government is axing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Advisory Body (WAB).

The government announced earlier this week that it will be closing the WAB, as well as the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property policy, in the next year.

Computer Aid International, which campaigns against the export of e-waste and for the proper recycling of all waste electrical and electronic equipment, said that the cutback undermines its efforts.

“This year, we were expecting to move this agenda forward positively, with the re-casting of the WEEE Directive to tighten up loopholes and introduce targets for reuse. Instead, with these cuts, we find ourselves going backwards,” said Tony Roberts, CEO and founder of Computer Aid International.

“In Computer Aid’s opinion, further cuts in funding to those agencies acting to promote reuse, recycling and the prevention of harmful e-waste export, will do immense damage to the groundwork laid by the WAB and the Environment Agency. We fear that the image of a relaxed watchdog will give e-waste cowboys the green light to continue their illegal activities.”

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth’s resource use campaigner Julian Kirby said that the closure of WAB will have wider repercussions.

“The abolition of the WEEE Advisory Body (WAB) should ring alarm bells for anyone interested in building a more sustainable economy.

“Bodies such as WAB - whose members donate their time for free - provide an essential bridge between government departments developing policies and the businesses, public bodies and communities responsible for implementing them.

“It is vital that this link is maintained.”

However, Dr Philip Morton, chief executive of REPIC, the not-for-profit electrical and electronic equipment producer compliance scheme, did not appear to see a problem with this link being removed.

“We are sad to see the WAB disappear as a vehicle for advice and policy making on the recycling and re-use of electrical equipment, but we understand why it has been done. We are delighted that BIS will continue the dialogue in its place,” he said.

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