Q1 2021 WEEE collection figures - a slow but encouraging start

The UK WEEE Quarter 1 data were published this week by the Environment Agency.

A total of 119,818 tonnes of household WEEE was reported between January and March 2021, which is disappointing when compared with the same quarter last year (134,093 tonnes were collected in Q1 2020, a 11% decrease).

However, if we look at this volume against the UK national target for 2021 figures are fairly encouraging. The national WEEE collection target for 2021 was set at 503,629 tonnes by Defra in March. The volume collected in Quarter 1 represents an overall progress to target of 24% so only slightly behind the pro-rata target after one quarter.

Of the 14 categories, Display is the only one ahead of the pro rata target with 26% of the national target achieved after three months of collections.

Considering that the industry has missed the national target for four consecutive years, collections will have to improve to avoid a fifth year in a row below the target.

Robbie Staniforth, head of innovation and policy commented: "Given the country was in lockdown throughout the period, the Q1 collection figures represent a comparative success. However, we know that for small mixed WEEE, citizens simply need more options for recycling their old electricals, including a more widespread collection network. We hope the Government consultations in the next period go some way towards addressing these issues and increasing the amount recycled."


Promising retailer take back collections

Changes to retailer take-back obligations were introduced in January this year. Despite the impact of COVID lockdowns on stores closure, 37,007 tonnes were collected from stores in Quarter 1. This figure is very promising and a strong performance from in store WEEE take back in the rest of the year will be essential to meet the national target.

Increased volume of EEE placed on the market

401,686 tonnes of household EEE were reported by UK producers in Quarter 1 which constitutes the largest volume of EEE placed on the UK market in the first quarter of any compliance year since the implementation of the Regulations in 2007.

If we compare these figures with Quarter 1 2020, EEE volume is up by 20% overall with the biggest increase year on year for category 7- Toys and leisure (+89%) which could be explained by COVID lockdown, as people spent more time indoors for entertainment as most leisure and entertainment venues were closed across the UK. 

Quarter 2 data are expected for the 1st of September. To discuss how the latest WEEE collection figures impact you, please contact our team

If you have some WEEE to recycle, you can request a WEEE collection here.

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