On January 19th, the European Parliament approved a revision to the Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Direction that means smaller retailers will now be obliged to collect small waste electric and electronic goods from consumers at no cost and without any requirement on the latter to buy a new product of the same kind in the shop.
The clause applies only to retailers with more than 400 square meters of sales area, for small WEEE items and unless an assessment shows that alternative existing collection schemes are likely to be at least as effective.
One European Association – UEAPME the European craft and SME employers’ organisation has already responded to the vote to say that while this is likely to exclude many micro and small retailers from collection obligations, other SMBs will nonetheless be clearly affected.
Over half of the SMBs polled in 2011 for the Sage Business Index about “The role of Government” put bureaucracy and legislation as the least favourable aspect of doing business in their country.
The general opinion is that restrictive legislation inhibits small business growth and certainly there has been a lot of hand wringing over the past couple of years about Europe’s productivity challenge.
Regulation that protects health, safety or the environment is welcome but the focus must be on those rules that make sense, add value and have an overall positive impact. In an already unforgiving trading environment – this revision of the WEEE directive feels like it will be prove a heavy responsibility in more ways than one.