2021 Q2 WEEE collections edge towards target

Q2 WEEE data, released in early September, indicates the UK is getting closer to hitting its annual target despite a small drop in collections.

The data reveals that between April and June 118,347 tonnes of waste electricals were collected – 1,880 tonnes less than collections between January and March.

Compliance schemes will have to collect a total of 503,629 tonnes of WEEE this year, a 9% increase in the target from 2020, and the latest figures suggest an encouraging current collection rate of 47%. This is despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic and restrictions, particularly in the first half of 2021. 

Small Mixed WEEE collections increase

Small mixed WEEE (SMW) collections - comprising waste in categories 2 through to 10 - increased in Q2 by 17% compared to Q1, possibly due in part to the now mandatory in-store take-back rules that took effect on the 1 January.

Increasing SMW collections will be a priority in the upcoming consultation on reforming the WEEE regulations as hoarding and consumer unwillingness to dispose of items such as mobile phones, means a significant tonnage is not recycled.

The amount of electrical goods placed on the market remains higher than last year, which again may be attributable to the varying restrictions and spending habits of consumers, despite a fall when comparing Q2 to the previous quarter.

Q2 2021 EEE placed on market

The UK has now missed the WEEE collection target for four consecutive years. Although the data shows promising progress, it is by no means guaranteed that the national target will be reached.

Procurement manager Jonathon Stewart commented "This time last year the WEEE collection data reflected the impact the pandemic had taken on the collection rate. The temporary closure of HWRC sites, a national lockdown, and a pause in industry capacity was a reminder of how much work goes on collectively in order to achieve the WEEE collection targets."

"Looking at the latest Q2 WEEE collection data it provides a positive view of a potential to meet the annual target. However, we still need to be mindful that householders may have stockpiled WEEE originally destined for 2020, which is now being seen in 2021."

Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 08/09/2021 Topics WEEE

Future WEEE reform is coming

Government stated their intention to consult on the WEEE regulations in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy. In the current system producers are not responsible for individual post-consumer products. The consultation and regulatory review will seek to address a number of issues, including the need to increase reuse and WEEE collections and reward producers for sustainable product design and resource efficiency.
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