Target levels for 2019 were confirmed yesterday – having been initially proposed late last month (see letsrecycle.com story).
Defra has set an overall collection target of 550,577 tonnes for 2019 – which is around 12% higher than the total amount of household WEEE collected and reported by compliance schemes in 2018.
A higher collections target is required for the UK to meet its European Union requirement to collect equivalent to 65% of the weight of EEE placed on the market during the three previous years. Up to now the target level has stood at 45%.
In documents outlining the new targets, Defra explained that higher targets are needed to reflect the EU goals.
Producer compliance schemes have raised concerns over whether the proposals are achievable, but the figures have been welcomed by WEEE reprocessors who say it could boost the tonnages of WEEE received at their facilities (see letsrecycle.com story).
In a statement, Phil Conran, chair of the AATF Forum, which represents the UK’s WEEE processing sector, called for action to ensure that increased tonnages of WEEE are collected to meet the targets.
He said: “The AATF Forum welcomes the 2019 targets that have now been confirmed by Defra and which have been set to meet the WEEE Directive collection target of 65% of the average annual weight of EEE placed on the market over the previous three years. This means that the UK actually has to collect 58,000 tonnes more than was collected in 2018. Whilst PCSs can bridge any target gaps using the Compliance Fee, that will not help the UK meet its obligations.
“The Forum therefore recommends an urgent stakeholder meeting with Defra and the Agencies to consider what measures can be taken to increase the amount of WEEE collected and ensure it enters the regulated treatment sector. This could include an early declaration of intent by Defra to set the Compliance Fee for 2019 at a level high enough to incentivise collection growth.”
Vikkie Fitzgerald, WEEE compliance scheme manager at Clarity Environmental, said: “It remains that small mixed WEEE has the biggest overall increase in collection target, particularly categories 3 and 4. The targets have been adjusted ever so slightly from the proposed figures, reducing overall by 1%. Cooling and lamps remain the same as the proposed figures.
“There are no surprises in the final collection targets, given that the changes between the proposed targets issued last month are only very slight. The industry faces another challenging year, and much attention will be focussed on the activities financed by the 2017 compliance fee, which will need to support a significant increase in collections. Defra envisages that the national communications campaign will work to assist this increase, by raising consumer awareness of how and where to recycle. It will certainly be an interesting year for the sector.”
Data published early this month suggested that the UK fell short of its WEEE collection target for 2018 by around 45,000 tonnes, achieving an overall collection rate of 492,500 tonnes (see letsrecycle.com story).
Failure to meet targets will mean that some producer compliance schemes will be required to pay into a ‘Compliance Fee’ fund in order to fulfil their recycling obligations for the year.
A total of £8 million was collected through the compliance fee in 2017, when the target was missed by up to 100,000 tonnes.
This money is to be spent in a number of areas, including a major national communications and behaviour change campaign, a study on business WEEE and work to estimate the amount of new equipment placed on the market but exported before it becomes waste. It is hoped that these projects will contribute towards the progress to 2019 targets.
David Reynolds of the WeeeCare, added: “From a WeeeCare point of view we would like to see the compliance fee funding collections. They are challenging but the compliance fee gives an easy option out.
“The difficulty is with the timing, there is an issue that we get the target today and we have nine months left – but the fee isn’t announced until November.”