WEEE do things differently
Published 16/01/2013 | 05:00
AND another one bites the dust. The brutal year on the UK high street continues with the news that HMV has gone into administration.
The possible demise of HMV will likely cause much more of an emotional tug for people than the likes of camera chain Jessops and computers-to-cookers retailer Comet, both of whom have gone under with the loss of thousands of jobs.
After all, few people remember the first fridge they buy; nearly everyone remembers their first record or CD.
Interestingly, apart from a reorganisation at Harvey Norman, Irish electronics sellers haven't been decimated to anything like the same degree UK-based firms have been.
The irony is that this is at least in part due to a measure the industry fought tooth and nail when it came in. In Ireland, a retailer must take away your old appliance if you buy a new one. If you buy a new fridge in Power City, legally the retailer must recycle your old fridge.
The measure, introduced in 2005 and extended in 2009, was resisted, but as an unintended consequence, it made it almost impossible for us to buy big-ticket electronics online.
Sure, consumers can use Irish websites, but try to buy white appliances and other items on, say, Amazon, and you will be told that "this item cannot be dispatched to this address".
The 'Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment' scheme (WEEE), as it's known, is a cross to bear for many retailers, but it may just have kept them in business.