The government has admitted that it is unable to make the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive (WEEE) law.
This latest delay will once again leave IT and electronics users and suppliers in limbo.
UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks has said the government is planning a new consultation on the legislation, even though it completed an extensive discussion process two years ago.
The directive was supposed to become law in August, with a system in place to make sure used PCs, peripherals and other electronic items were recycled.
However, before August the Department of Trade and Industry announced WEEE would be delayed until January 2006. Then at the end of the summer it said the UK would not be ready until at least June 2006.
There is now no official timeframe for implementation. Wicks said government departments would now be working together to introduce draft regulations next spring. The consultation time on these draft guidelines has not been announced.
Companies including Hewlett-Packard and Dell have spent considerable time and resources preparing to meet the previous draft guidelines and may now have to change their plans substantially to keep their manufacturing and supply business compliant.
Countries that do not comply with directives and make them law risk being fined by the European Commission.
The UK is already running this threat, but is not alone, as the Commission has already said it is taking legal action against France, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland and the UK for not implementing WEEE.