Distributor Take back Scheme

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Frequently Asked Questions

These questions relate primarily to the DTS in Phase 4, from January 2017 to the end of 2019

Q1 What are my Compliance options as a retailer?

Retailers, known as distributors under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations, of household electrical or electronic equipment (EEE) have to ensure that WEEE from private households can be returned free of charge on a one-for-one basis (where they purchase equivalent EEE that fulfils the same function) for recycling. Distributors have two options in order to comply with these legal obligations

  • offer free in store take back
  • or

  • join the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS)

Q2 What is free in store take back?

Retailers who have not joined the DTS have to ensure that WEEE from private households can be returned to them free of charge, on a one-for-one basis. This is providing that the WEEE returned is of equivalent type to, and has fulfilled the same function as the new EEE that is purchased.

For example, an old video player can be returned when purchasing a new DVD player, regardless of the brand and where the old one was originally purchased.

Retailers taking back WEEE must return it for recycling by contacting a producer compliance scheme, and delivering it to them for treatment.

The new WEEE regulation introduced in 2013 brought the introduction of an additional obligation on larger distributors. Where “A distributor who supplies new EEE from a retail premises with a sales area relating to EEE of at least 400m² must provide for the collection of very small WEEE free of charge to the end user of the EEE with no obligation to buy EEE of an equivalent type. Such collection must take place at the retail premises or in its immediate proximity.” The DTS member alternative to this is to make an additional payment of 25% of the total fees.

Q3 What is the DTS?

The DTS is a government approved scheme operated by Valpak Retail WEEE Services Ltd

Q4 How much does the DTS cost to join?

Please refer to DTS Info & Fees Page

Q5 What do I need to do to become a member?

You will need to register here

Q6 When do I need to register?

If you are currently distributing EEE and do not wish to offer Take back you should register for the DTS as soon as possible after 01 January 2017. The regulatory authorities have allowed a period of grace for returning members to complete their registration until 31 January 2017. If you wish to join after this date you can still complete registration and make payment in order to be considered a member and opt out of offering in store take back.

Q7 I am a returning Band A member how do I offset some of my costs by completing modules?

You can choose to undertake either 1 or 2 module actions aimed at increasing WEEE collection. 1 module will result on 25% reduction of fees and 2 will result in a 50% reduction in fees. You need to complete registration and complete your module form explaining how you intend to complete the modules.

Q8 How do I know my registration with the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS) has been successful?

Once you have completed registration, you will be asked for payment if you are a Band B or C member. Band A members will receive a fee estimate and will receive their invoice for payment before 31st March 2017. Returning Band A members will also have to declare if they wish to undertake modules. You will receive a confirmation email when registration is complete. Once Valpak have received payment you will then be considered a full member of the DTS. In the case of Band A members those who complete registration will be considered full members of the DTS however if payment is not made by the deadline stated on the invoice then their membership will be invalid

Q9 Can I charge customers for returning waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to me?

No, if you have not joined the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS) you must provide means for your customers to return old electrical and electrical equipment (EEE) to you free of charge, upon purchasing a new piece of EEE on a one for one, like for like, basis. If you are a member of the DTS you should direct customers to their nearest suitable Local Authority collection site as shown on http://www.recycle-more.co.uk/bank-locator As outlined in Q2, from 2014 larger retailers must also offer to take back all small WEEE from consumers whether or not a purchase has been made.

Q10 Can I charge for collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) on delivery?

Yes, if you are offering collection on delivery you can charge for the logistical costs of the service, but this should be related to the actual costs of the service. The only circumstance where you cannot charge is, if you are not a DTS member and do not allow WEEE to be deposited at your premises or other convenient collection point. In this instance you should not charge for collection. You cannot charge your customer for the cost of treatment, a 'recycling fee'. The cost of treatment of the item will be met by the producers.

Q11 If I am offering collection on delivery of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), what do I do with the WEEE I collect?

Distributors have to ensure that any WEEE collected through either in store take back, collection on delivery or any other means, is treated and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Distributors are generally not allowed to dispose of collected WEEE at Civic Amenity sites (unless the site allows commercial waste), regardless of membership to the DTS. Instead distributors should contact a Producer Compliance scheme and deliver the WEEE to them, to be treated at the cost of the producer. It is likely that the Producer Compliance schemes will ask for the WEEE to be delivered to an Approved and Accredited Treatment Facility (AATF), distributors will need to fund the transport of WEEE to the AATF or location specified by the Producer Compliance scheme. Please follow this link to see the Public register of producer compliance schemes.

Q12 If I join the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS), how long am I exempt from providing free in store take back?

By joining the DTS you will be exempt from having to offer in store take back until January 2020

Q13 What if I have no annual sales turnover of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to declare (e.g. I am a new company)?

If you are unable to provide details of your annual turnover from EEE sales, you will need to make a reasonable assumption in order to provide an estimate of what you expect your annual turnover from EEE sales to be/have been. Please contact Valpak at dts@valpak.co.uk before beginning the registration process

Q14 What if I am giving electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) away as a promotional gift ?

Your annual turnover from EEE sales should be based on the value of equipment you have supplied, not just that you have sold. Therefore you should assume a reasonable sales value for the promotional items. If you are also required to provide information regarding the number of items of EEE sold, promotional items should be included with the number of units.

Q15 If I join the Distributor Take back Scheme (DTS), how will I inform my customers of where to take their waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)?

As a member of the DTS, distributors will have to inform their customers of the availability of facilities for the return of WEEE. These are called the Consumer Information Obligations (CIOs). The DTS will assist its members in meeting their CIOs through providing information and promotional material through its recycle-more via the DTS members area and recycle-more website.

Q16 Where can I find information on what is considered household and non household electrical equipment

“WEEE from private households” means WEEE which comes from private households and WEEE which comes from commercial, industrial, institutional and other sources which, because of its nature and quantity, is similar to that from private households. Waste from EEE likely to be used by both private households and users other than private households shall in any event be considered to be WEEE from private households for more details please visit this web page.

Q17 What is dual use?

Products designed for both household and non-household use are considered dual use equipment. Equipment that is considered to be dual use must be reported as business to consumer equipment (B2C).

Q18 Do Local Authorities have to accept any equipment from businesses at DCF’s?

No. The decision on whether to accept business waste of any sort on to LA CA sites is for the authority and so it is under no obligation to accept any WEEE from business users regardless of the type of equipment.

If they do accept so called “dual use” equipment then it should be collected along with similar WEEE from households

If they also choose to allow normal business WEEE on to their sites (commercial freezers for example) then this should be collected and treated separately.

Q19 Do obligated distributors only have to take back WEEE from householders or should they now also take back from business end users?

Any distributors, whether they sell B2C or dual use EEE and who are not DTS members must offer take back of WEEE from private households which now includes dual use WEEE. Provided they do not have stores over 400m2 EEE sales area then they only need to offer take back on a one for one and like for like basis and only when the holder has purchased new equipment.

There is no obligation on distributors (whether newly obligated or not) to suddenly have to take back large quantities of dual use equipment unless they have at the same time supplied similar quantities of new equipment of a similar type. This includes offering take back of dual use WEEE from businesses as the “WEEE from private households” definition now includes this material, but only on a one for one, like for like basis.

Therefore, if a small business is buying a new domestic fridge for their office from a retailer who is not a DTS member the retailer should offer to take back the old one but only when the new purchase is made. Similarly, if a business is buying 100 new laptops that are dual use from a non-DTS supplier then the supplier would again be expected to offer to take 100 old ones back, although this would probably be covered by their supply contract.

In any event distributors do not need to offer take back of any business WEEE which is still clearly intended for business use only, i.e. not dual use.

In any case DTS members do not need to offer take back, although of course they may choose to do so if they wish for other reasons.

Q20 Does membership of the DTS and fulfilling the associated Consumer Information Obligations (CIOs) mean I have fulfilled all my obligations as a seller of EEE?

No, aside from distributor responsibilities which are applicable when selling EEE direct to householders in the UK, you may also have responsibilities as a producer of electrical equipment. If you are manufacturing or selling EEE under your own brand in the UK, resell equipment made by someone else under your own brand, import EEE on a commercial basis or are established outside the UK and supply EEE directly to the UK market via distance selling e.g. online then you are likely to be a producer and have additional legal responsibilities.

Please refer to this government website which details responsibilities for producers of EEE including registration with a producer compliance scheme.

Q21 What lighting is in scope?

Under the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations household lighting luminaires fall out of scope, however the “lamps” (light bulbs) themselves are in scope. This is with the exception of filament bulbs (either tungsten filaments or halogen). All LED lamps & modules plus fluorescent tubes & compact fluorescent lamps are in scope.

For registration the sales value of lamps which are in scope should be included in your calculations in order to determine whether you are a Band A, B or C member

For the DTS as a band A member you should reporting the number of units of the lamps sold which are in scope, this is inclusive of lamps which are both sold separately and those which are sold as part of a whole luminaire fitting.