Targets for the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) have been missed for the second consecutive year, data published on Friday (1 March) by Defra has confirmed.
The data for the final quarter of 2018 suggests that the UK has fallen short of its overall collection target by around 44,533 tonnes – having collected just shy of 493,000 tonnes of ‘household’ WEEE for recycling.
The data suggests that only two categories, Small Household Appliances and Photovoltaic Panels, exceeded their individual targets.
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 (see letsreycle.com story).
Release of the 2018 data comes shortly after the proposed target levels for 2019 were published by Defra – with schemes having described the proposals as ‘challenging’ given recent trends in collections of WEEE (see letsrecycle.com story).
For 2019, Defra is proposing to set the goal at 550,000 tonnes for overall collections of WEEE – which would require a 12% increase in collections from 2018 levels.
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%.
“Ecosurety urges Defra to ensure the money raised through the WEEE compliance fee is invested into an effective programme that seeks to improve both the collection and reprocessing of EEE…”Sue Nolan
Defra’s proposed collection targets are based upon collecting the equivalent of 65% of the new products put onto the market over the last three years – taking into account ‘substantiated estimates’ of WEEE which has been recycled outside of the WEEE system, for example by scrap metal recyclers.
Reacting to the release of the 2018 data and the 2019 targets last week, Sue Nolan, procurement manager at producer compliance scheme Ecosurety, said: “The Q4 WEEE figures published today immediately suggest that a number of compliance schemes will be obliged to refer to the WEEE compliance fee option to balance their books.”
She added: “Ecosurety urges Defra to ensure the money raised through the WEEE compliance fee is invested into an effective programme that seeks to improve both the collection and reprocessing of EEE but also considers ways that businesses can be better incentivised to source recycling evidence for their electrical products.”