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RoHS | January 30, 2006

First WEEE prosecution carried out

Boots Retail in Ireland has become the first company in the European Union to be prosecuted for offences under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations.
On 23 January 2006 Boots Retail (Ireland) Ltd pleaded guilty to charges brought by the Environmental Protection Agency in relation to offences under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2005.

This is the first case to be taken under these Regulations in Ireland or in the EU. The Regulations were made to bring the EU WEEE Directive into Irish law and became effective on 13th August 2005.

The case was heard at Wexford District Court and the company admitted breaching the Regulations by:

Failing to maintain a specified notice in-store alerting customers to the fact that prices include a contribution to a Producer Recycling Fund to ensure that WEEE is collected and recycled in a responsible manner.

Failing to include in an advertisement offering electrical and electronic equipment the contribution to be made to a Producer Recycling Fund as well as the net price, as required by the Regulations. The advertisement was published in the Irish Times on 27th October 2005.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment is made up of many different materials and components, some of which are hazardous. The Directive aims to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulations has the potential to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment that can be collected and diverted from landfill.

Commenting on the prosecution Dr Gerry Byrne, Programme Manager, EPA said, “The WEEE Regulations are consumer-friendly and environment-friendly and in failing to comply with the Regulations companies put compliant retailers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Fines of €1,200 were imposed and costs of €6,865 were awarded to the EPA.

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