Data published this week indicates that the collection target for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been met for 2016, following a growth in the overall tonnage of WEEE collected.
However, targets for some individual material streams, notably lamps and IT equipment, have been missed, meaning that some compliance schemes will be required to resort to a compliance fee to meet their obligations for the year.
Overall the data shows that a total tonnage of 581,415 tonnes of WEEE was collected throughout the year, over a target of 544,342 tonnes. This represents an overall growth in tonnages of 11% compared to 2015.
Among the categories to have missed the 2016 target is lamps – an issue which Defra has addressed through a proposal to reduce the target for 2017, down from 6,882 tonnes to a proposed level of 6,009 tonnes.
Commenting on the 2016 collection data, Nigel Harvey, chief executive of the lamp compliance scheme Recolight, said: “The 2016 full year collection data confirms that there was a shortfall against the target. That means it is highly likely that one or more PCSs will need to use the 2016 compliance fee for lamps. That will have an impact on producer costs – but will also contribute to a Local Authority fund for distribution later this year.
“It’s encouraging to see that the data for 2016 shows that the UK beat its collection target, and that overall collection levels of household WEEE rose by 11%.”Mark Burrows Smith
“We have probably now reached ‘Peak lamp WEEE’. Tonnages collected are likely to decline in future years as the shift from fluorescent to LED luminaires accelerates. This will probably only reverse when LED lamps reach end of life in larger numbers.”
On the overall collection data, Mark Burrows Smith of compliance scheme Repic, added: “It’s encouraging to see that the data for 2016 shows that the UK beat its collection target, and that overall collection levels of household WEEE rose by 11%. The data proves that the system in working well and more WEEE is being captured in the WEEE system.”
As well as the 2016 data, schemes have this week learned the proposed collection targets for WEEE for 2017, following the publication of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra’s) draft collection targets.
Defra has proposed a target of 633,643 tonnes for the year, meaning that collections will be required to increase by a further 8% for targets to be met in 2017.
The methodology for calculating the targets is based on the average annual growth in tonnes of WEEE collected for each category since 2012.
This means that for categories of WEEE such as large household appliances – where collections have increased over the five-year period – targets will be higher than during the preceding year, but for categories such as display equipment, where arisings are diminishing, collection targets will be lower. The lamp collection target for 2017 is also lower than its 2016 level.
Schemes have until 10 March to comment on the proposals.
“Generally, these targets seem very sensible. What we have heard from the market place is that the changes are being made in the right areas.”Robbie Staniforth
The overall target is below the collection levels necessary to achieve the UK’s target of 775,8621 tonnes for the year – a goal it is required to meet as part of the EU’s WEEE Directive.
The difference between the EU target and that collected and financed by producers will come from “substantiated estimates” of WEEE arising and treated from other sources, in particular LDA in the light iron waste stream, Defra has said.
Commenting on the proposed 2017 targets, Robbie Staniforth, commercial manager at compliance scheme Ecosurety, said: “Generally, these targets seem very sensible. What we have heard from the market place is that the changes are being made in the right areas.”
Paul Van Danzig, sales marketing director at Electrolink, added: “It is good to see Defra are setting targets that will make sure that local authorities will get the collections that they need. Our criticism of the targets in the past is that the targets were too low and that has left local authorities high and dry.”