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Jobs at risk unless consumers pay for WEEE Directive

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Thousands of jobs in the electronics manufacturing sector could move abroad unless the government passes the costs of the WEEE Directive onto the consumer.

That was the warning from REPIC, the compliance scheme run by a consortium of waste electronics producers to help companies comply with the producer responsibility terms of the WEEE Directive.

In a letter to MPs and industry figures, REPIC chief executive Dr Philip Morton called for support in demanding that the government push back the start date of producer responsibility for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) until 2006.

Dr Morton also demanded that a visible fee be highlighted clearly on the price of new electronics to show consumers that they are paying for equipment to be recycled at the end of its life.

He said: "Manufacturers must be able to pass the costs of recycling on to consumers, or jobs will be lost. The electrical and electronic goods industry already operates on very narrow margins with the government's own figures showing the costs of implementation equal to the industry's profits.

"If implementation cuts margins further, manufacturers will have little option but to move manufacturing abroad. There are at least 27,000 people currently employed in electrical and electronic manufacturing in the UK," he added.

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