UK retailers now face fines for not implementing a portable e-cigarette recycling plan, with no upper limit on the amount of the fines, according to a report by BetterRetailing on December 7th.
The Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS) in the UK has increased the fine amount from the original £5000 for retailers who fail to offer consumers portable e-cigarette disposal options.
This regulation is based on the requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation. Alex Brothwood, the project operations manager at Waste Specialist Company, stated that the increase in fines is due to concerns that “nobody would actually be prosecuted for not having a recycling system in place.
Retailers with annual sales below £100,000, including electronic products such as e-cigarettes, are required to join a program called Distributor Takeback Scheme (DTS), the cost of which depends on the size of the store and its sales figures.
Shop owners with annual sales exceeding £100,000 are required to offer customers a method to dispose of e-cigarettes within the store premises.
Some e-cigarette brands, such as Elux and ELFBAR, have initiated and funded free waste collection bins and collection services for shops to utilize.
Waste management experts are offering e-cigarette retailers a waste disposal container for £168 each. Since launching this initiative in March this year, the company has already sold 1,000 of these containers, but Brucewood claims this figure is “relatively small.” Retailers are required to pay £165 each time they collect a waste container.
Brookwood said: “Due to regulations imposed by DTS, retailers are required to bear the logistics costs of collecting e-cigarettes, and the process of recycling these products is quite expensive. Currently, there are ongoing legislative efforts aimed at reducing costs, but at present, substantial expenses are still incurred.”