1 June 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Q1 WEEE data shows drop in tonnages

Collections of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) fell in the first quarter of 2018 in comparison to the same period in the previous two years.

Statistics released by the Environment Agency this morning (June 1) showed that the overall collection of household WEEE from civic amenity sites and other sources in Q1 of this year stood at 120,707 tonnes.

This is a 13% reduction from the same period in 2017, when the overall tonnage collected in Q1 was 136,721 tonnes. In 2016 the total was 146,998 tonnes.

As outlined in the table below, each individual category either saw a reduction in the amount collected or stayed relatively static compared to 2017, with the exception of Monitoring and Control Instruments, which saw a 2 tonne increase to 48 tonnes.

WEEE

The overall tonnage collected by PCSs fell by 13%, although the Environment Agency has warned that the figures may be subject to change

Target

In April Defra confirmed that the overall collection target for WEEE in 2018 would be 537,065 tonnes. This came after it was revealed that the 2017 collection target had been missed, with compliance schemes expecting a ‘seven figure’ compliance fee as a consequence (see letsrecycle.com story).

In total, compliance schemes collected 522,901 tonnes of WEEE in 2017, which was 16% shy of the target.

It is difficult to fully assess how close the 2018 Q1 figures suggest PCSs are to meeting the target this year however, as traditionally more collections occur in the next two quarters of the year.

However, by this point last year, the overall Q1 figure suggested that PCSs had collected 22% of their yearly collection target, which they ultimately missed, while in 2018 PCSs have collected 23% of the target. The 2018 Q1 figures however, are subject to change.

A fall in the tonnage of household WEEE collected is thought to have been the result of a number of factors. Product lightweighting – whereby producers replace older versions of their products on the market, with newer, lighter models is one rationale, but an increased incidence of product take-back directly to retailers is also thought to be a possible explanation.

Discrepancies

The data is subject to revision and some “discrepancies” have been identified, the Environment Agency stated.

A note on the figures from the Agency said: “This is due to a number of schemes reporting more WEEE being collected than has been delivered to Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) and Approved Exporters (AEs), whilst others have reported less WEEE being collected than delivered to AATFs and AEs. We have been notified that certain collections are bulked up prior to delivery to an AATF or AE hence the reporting of more WEEE being collected than delivered. As for when deliveries exceed collections, we continue to monitor this and the data may be subject to revision.”

Placed on market

Another way of judging WEEE collections is by measuring the amount collected against the amount placed on the market by producers.

In the first quarter of this year, a total of 291,800 tonnes of WEEE was placed on the market, which means that PCSs collected around 40% of that in equivalent WEEE.

In 2017, 313,952 tonnes of new products were placed on the market, which meant last year PCSs collected 43% of what was placed on the market in the same period.

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