Thursday, 9 January 2014

Britain Approves PV Recycling EU Regulation

Late last year, the UK approved the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, and it came into force ahead of schedule on 1 January this year, a move that was praised by European recycling organisation PV Cycle.

Under the new directive, all photovoltaic modules that have reached the end of their lifespan, whether due to damage or because of warranty expiration must be disposed of appropriately. PV Cycle helps with the process, since standard regulation about the disposal of electric and electronic waste generally concerns household appliances and other consumer products, while PV modules are mostly used by businesses. These modules have a longer lifespan than consumer products, says David Burton, country manager of producer compliance scheme for PV Cycle UK.

The UK Department of Business, Skills and Innovation has been very helpful in the matter, consulting the photo-voltaic panel production sector in order to make sure that waste disposal is conducted appropriately and without harming the industry's long-term sustainability plans.

Under the new directive, all PV panel importers to the UK will need to register under a product compliance scheme, which requires them to take full financial responsibility for disposing of the expired panels they have sold on the market, as well as to report all relevant information, including locations of the panels sold and their numbers.

The WEEE Directive was amended to include PV modules in August 2012, and the industry had an 18-month period to become compliant with it before the national governments of the EU's 27 members incorporated the directive into their legislation.

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