The AATF Forum has said it will be applying for funding from the WEEE Fund for a project to investigate the increasing gap between electrical goods placed on the market and that collected.
The Approved Authorised Treatment Facility Forum says that the project will examine the causes of this gap and “determine what is needed to reduce the environmental damage being caused”.
According to a statement from the group, since the first full year of WEEE data reporting in 2008, there has been a cumulative gap of 7.6 million tonnes between household EEE reported as placed on the market and WEEE collected under the WEEE Regulations.
The group, whose members include AO, Viridor and Veolia, said that whilst a significant proportion might remain in continued use or be exported quite legitimately, it does expose the scale of WEEE leakage that any full-life modelling of EEE will not be able to measure.
Commenting on the project, Phil Conran, chair of Forum, said: “The Directive was designed to reduce the environmental impact of end of life WEEE disposal and to ensure it was treated under best available techniques.”
Mr Conran added: “Clearly this is not happening with significant quantities either being treated in substandard processes or being exported illegally. The emphasis for further work must therefore be to identify this leakage and ensure the full weight of effective enforcement is brought to bear.”
The WEEE fund is made up of compliance fees which were paid by producer compliance schemes last year which failed to hit their target. This stands at £8 million and will be spread across three years.
The AATF forum announcement comes just two weeks since Repic announced it would also be applying to the WEEE Fund to continue research into setting fairer targets for compliance schemes (see letsrecycle.com story).
The AATF Forum said that whilst it “welcomes” the REPIC study, it does highlight that there is a significant gap between scientific theory and fact and highlights that there are ‘significant unreported flows’ that are not being recycled by treatment facilities approved.