The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has postponed for the second time a scheme for the safe disposal of IT equipment after it failed to set up a registration scheme in time.
The waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) directive, which was originally due to come into effect this month, was initially pushed back by six months to January 2006 but will now be delayed until June next year, according to Department of Trade and Industry minister Malcolm Wicks.
"This directive is challenging and has required a lot of planning and preparation, but our priority is to get this right," he said.
The European Union directive was introduced to compel technology manufacturers and retailers to dispose of waste equipment safely. IT and telecoms equipment contains some of the most hazardous materials that are currently dumped in landfill sites.
The registration scheme needed to make the directive work will now only begin after the original January 2006 deadline.
The Environment Agency’s manager for waste producer responsibility, Jeff Cooper, confirmed, “We expect to be able to announce arrangements for the registration of producers in the early autumn, with registration starting in January 2006.”
According to a poll of 150 firms by market research firm Datamonitor late last year, just 50% of IT managers were aware that they were responsible for the safe disposal of their own hardware.