UK close to hitting WEEE targets, Q2 data reveals
The Environment Agency (EA) recently updated its Waste Electricals and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) data to include Q2 information, with figures showing a 1.5 per cent decrease in household WEEE collections compared to Q1.
Total household WEEE collections for the first half of 2021 are recorded at 238,574 tonnes, marking a moderate increase upon the previous year’s figure, which was recorded at 198,517 tonnes over the same period. This figure was brought down by Q2 2020, which saw only 64,424 tonnes collected due to the impact of the pandemic.
The EA, as reflected in the data, is coming close to its annual target for household WEEE collections, set at 503,629 tonnes. Currently, around 47.5 per cent of this figure has been collected.
The UK has fallen short of its household WEEE collection targets several consecutive years. With every failed target, the obligated producers are required to pay a ‘compliance fee’ towards the WEEE fund, which funds projects to support WEEE recycling and reuse.
To support the industry during the pandemic, the WEEE fund last year announced that it would be providing electrical waste recyclers with over £5m in financial support.
The pandemic saw the industry severely disrupted, with household waste collections and Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) significantly impacted.
Louise Grantham, Chief Executive of REPIC, said: “Total household WEEE collections in Q2 2021 fell slightly when compared to Q1 2021 – 118,347 tonnes compared to 120,227 tonnes.
Total household WEEE collections for the first half of 2021 are 47.4% of Defra’s 2021 annual WEEE collections target.
“Collections of Large Household Appliances (LHA) in Q2 2021 were lower than in Q1 2021 (37,381 tonnes compared to 47,535 tonnes), however non-obligated LHA WEEE collections were notably higher (24,328 tonnes compared to 1,758 tonnes).
“Excluding LHA data, total WEEE collections in the first half of 2021 were 48.6% of the 2021 target, with collections in the Cooling and Display categories being on or slightly above the pro-rata 2021 annual collections target, and slightly below in the Gas Discharge Lamp, PV Panels and Small Mixed WEEE categories.
“These collection figures are encouraging, because the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions for much of the first half of 2021 are likely to have had an adverse effect on WEEE collections in the first half of the year.
“Total EEE placed on the market remains higher than in 2020, although it fell slightly in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021 - 383,549 tonnes compared to 405,165 tonnes. Sales of EEE have demonstrably been affected by changing consumer spending priorities and business requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Collections of Small Mixed WEEE increased in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021 (33,669 tonnes compared to 28,747 tonnes). Although it may be too early to attribute this to the introduction of mandatory in-store takeback on 1 January, because many retail outlets remained closed for a portion of Q2 2021 due to the Covid-19 restrictions, providing more options for consumers to recycle unwanted electricals should ultimately contribute to increasing Small Mixed WEEE collections.”