At a hearing of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), Amazon’s worldwide Director of Environmental Affairs was challenged over the high level of non-compliant product sold through their site.
The committee is currently holding an enquiry into the operation of the UK’s WEEE system, and asked Amazon to submit a representative answer their questions.
During an online hearing last week (16 July), Caroline Lucas MP, a longstanding member of the EAC, challenged Amazon’s Robert ter Kuile over the non-compliance of LED lamps.
She asked, “How do you ensure that overseas sellers using your platform are part of a producer compliance scheme for e-waste” and quoted figures from research undertaken by Recolight that “out of the first 120 listings for LED lightbulbs on amazon, 76% were non-compliant freeriders; which make no contribution to UK recycling costs.”
Responding to the question, ter Kuile advised that compliance was the responsibility of the sellers.
Robert ter Kuile failed to admit that most products detected in the Recolight research were genuinely non-compliant, and that only a small minority had been compliant using the methods he indicated
He also noted that some of the sellers on their site would have paid WEEE fees via a third party or were registered for WEEE under a different company name.
He also claimed that Amazon “takes very seriously” any non-compliant products that are brought to their attention.
Commenting on the hearing, Recolight CEO Nigel Harvey said: “It was particularly pleasing to hear Caroline Lucas challenging Amazon using the Recolight research. But the response from Amazon was very disappointing.
“Robert ter Kuile failed to admit that most products detected in the Recolight research were genuinely non-compliant, and that only a small minority had been compliant using the methods he indicated.
“His claim that Amazon takes non-compliance seriously will not convince the members of the Recolight scheme who regularly identify non-compliant product on their site.”
Recolight is a UK WEEE compliance scheme for the lighting industry, taking on responsibility for its members’ WEEE compliance, giving their customers access to the UK’s most comprehensive free lamp collection and recycling service, and helping to ensure that as many lamps as possible are kept out of landfill.
In 2019, an EU-wide, multi-national study into non-compliance of electrical products sold through online marketplaces found an “exceptionally high” level of non-compliance with national WEEE requirements.