Concern that kerbside WEEE collections could hit charity retailers

An association representing charity shops has raised concerns that the government’s plans to implement free kerbside collections of WEEE could impact their trade.

The standout measure in government’s consultation on reforms to the WEEE regulations, launched in December 2023, was to implement free kerbside collections of electronic waste starting in 2026.

In a survey of its members, the Charity Retail Association (CRA) is examining the potential impact of this, and if it will reduce the amount donated to charity shops.

Presently, many households donate old electrical items to charity, and the CRA's survey seeks to understand if members are concerned about potential impacts on this practice following the implementation of the proposed measure.

The CRA has also emphasised the potential for “significant positive change” as the government contemplates a plan to have producers fund the collection of unsellable electrical items from charity shops.


The CRA added that disposing of donated electrical items that are subsequently unsaleable can be a significant cost pressure for charity retailers and act as a barrier to accepting donated electrical

The potential implementation of the proposal to collect from shops for free however is viewed by the CRA as a chance to address these challenges and bring about positive adjustments in the sector.

The association explained: “We have highlighted this issue with the Government multiple times and now have a real opportunity to secure change with the four UK Governments embarking on a joint review of regulations on the treatment of used and waste electrical items.

“One of the 144 consultation questions includes a proposal to provide charity shops with a free collection and disposal service for charity retailers covering all donated electrical equipment later deemed unsuitable for reuse. This would be paid for by Producer Compliance Schemes funded by fees paid for every new electrical item made available for sale in the UK.”

However, the CRA said the current consultation process does not cover how a free collection and disposal process might work in practice or seek any views on this, with these discussions coming “at a later stage of what will be a multi-year process”.

View our previous story on the WEEE Consultation here.

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