Changes to Distributor Take back Scheme: Common questions and answers

Stephanie Simpson provides some answers to the most common questions about forthcoming changes to the Distributor Take back Scheme.

A previous Blog, published on 12 February, outlined impending changes to the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS). Since then, we have received a number of enquiries and have had discussions with various businesses about how these changes will impact them and how costs could potentially increase.

We have also hosted a few member webinars around this subject, to help our customers get to grips with revised take back regulations and understand what they need to do. Below I’ve pooled a few of the common questions which came up during these webinars:

For those businesses in Bands A & B the DTS is closing at the end of 2020. Are there any plans to delay this due to the Coronavirus?

As far as we are aware, the Coronavirus will not affect the timetable for the closing of phase 5 of the DTS for those in bands A & B. Affected businesses will need to offer in store tack back as of 1 January 2020.

What material is in scope of these regulations?

Your business must take back any electrical or electronic waste of the same type as the item your customer buys from you. It doesn’t matter if the original item was purchased elsewhere, or if it is a different brand to what you are selling them. Take back is like for like in terms of function and a good example is if a customer is buying a new kettle from your business, you must take their old one. However, as take back is based on function it can get slightly more complex. For example, you would have to take back a customer’s old video player if they are buying a DVD player from you.

When we start taking back material, what kind of reporting/data storage is required?

All affected businesses will need to record the number of units returned to them and keep this information for four years. The enforcement body can request this information from businesses at any time.

Is there anything else we should be aware of?

I would recommend reading through the Regulations (page 33 on this link) . As well as arranging the safe storage, transport and recycling of the material, you will also need to display information to your customers about the take back system available to them. The Regulations are specific when it comes to the information that should be made available to consumers. You will need to detail:

  • The requirement on the UK to minimise the disposal of WEEE as unsorted municipal waste and ensure a high level of collection for WEEE for treatment
  • The collection and take-back systems available to them
  • Clarifying the customers role in contributing to the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery set out by the regulations
  • The potential effects on the environment and human health as a result of the presence of hazardous substances in EEE
  • The meaning of the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol

Who enforces these regulations?

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPS&S). You can find more about them here.

What are the consequences if we do not comply with the requirements?

If you fail to comply with the WEEE Regulations, you can be prosecuted and receive a fine of up to £5,000 at a magistrates’ court, or an unlimited fine from a Crown Court.

Any further questions? Valpak can help

The above are a selection of the most common questions we have received. We’re more than happy to speak with you on a one to one basis. Valpak has a nationwide WEEE collection service and can offer collections from single pallets to full articulated lorries.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.