- Created: Wednesday, 26 July 2006 10:41
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This morning's Daily Mail carries a front page story on the WEEE Directive where various manufacturers seem somewhat miffed that they are not allowed to charge a "tax" or "levy" at point of sale to show what consumers are paying for disposal of old products. The concern is that they will have to pay for the disposal of old product as well as the new.
However it is my understanding that the charges being spoken of, according to the information that I have, is to dispose of the historic waste and not, as AMDEA say, to pay for the disposal of both the old and the new. This makes sense as, if a brand is bought out or goes bust then another manufacturer would then pick up the tab to dispose of the old appliance. To me and my understanding, that's what this is all about, the disposal of the old appliance and not the new one.
In effect the only conclusion that I can draw, as it seems has the Daily Mail, is that the manufacturers want to point the finger of blame squarely at the EU and UK governments. After all it can't be the manufacturers fault that there's all this waste... can it?
Actually yes it can and there's very strong evidence to point to that.
In market research recently carried out by GfK highlights that in 2001 56% of washing machines being replaced were over ten years old. Just four years later, in 2005, that figure had dropped to 39%! That equates to an additional approximately 238,000 washing machines alone every year going to landfill.
Quite evidently the products are not lasting as long as they did and this echoes what we see in the field. Who's fault is that then?
Should it not be the responsibility of those creating the waste to dispose of it?
This comes about from, what we see from working in the industry, as largely due to high spares costs. With some common components costing 30% or more of a replacement machine is it any wonder that people shy away from a repair? Some components can actuallycost more than a replacement machine!
Recently, with the introduction of the likes of "sealed tubs" in new washing machines which are not serviceable this situation is only set to get still worse. Primarily these are being introduced by Electrolux (AEG, Tricity Bendix, Electrolux, Parkinson Cowan and Zanussi are all owned by Electrolux) and by The Indesit Company (Indesit, Ariston, Hotpoint, Cannon and Creda are all the brands owned) who just happen to be two of the companies named as bitterly opposed to WEEE as it is to be implemented. This hardly seems surprising as it will affect sales.
So whilst the manufacturers protest about being made responsible for their waste and they wish to clearly charge consumers for disposal it strikes me that they are doing little, if anything, to actually help the situation. Quite the reverse it seems.