7 May 2019 by Will Date

‘Unreported’ WEEE in spotlight of research project

Research into ‘unreported’ recycling of waste electricals, believed to take place outside of the official WEEE system, will be concluded by the end of 2019.

The work will be carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Lancaster, alongside compliance schemes Repic and Valpak and the sustainability consultancy Anthesis.

Funding from the WEEE compliance fee will be used to look at ‘unreported’ recycling of waste electrical items

Anticipated to cost around £200,000, money for the project is coming from the WEEE Compliance Fund, which is collected from compliance schemes that have been unable to meet their WEEE collection targets.

The project will look at activities including second-hand sales, reuse and repair, undocumented storage and export, illegal disposal and incorrect administration. It is hoped that it could pave the way for more WEEE handled through these channels to be reported towards WEEE recycling targets – which have been missed in successive years.


Commenting on the project, Scott Butler, WEEE Fund manager, said: “When we consulted with businesses working in this area this was a topic that was raised time and time again: what is happening to this equipment and why isn’t it available for recycling in the quantities we expect?

“The WEEE Fund, using money from the 2017 WEEE Compliance Fee, presents an opportunity to produce a robust and consolidated view of unreported activity to guide policy makers and strategies on WEEE collection and to allow for more formal reporting.”


The project is comprised of three phases:

Phase 1: Review of existing information, calculating potential WEEE generated for major product types and prioritise areas for further research.

Phase 2: Gather further data on activity identified in phase 1 via desk top research and analysis, stakeholder engagement and primary data collection.

Phase 3: Analysis and synthesis of data and substantiated estimates.

Dr Richard, Peagam, associate director, Anthesis, said: “With such a strong team of partners, this project will significantly enhance the UK’s strategy for collecting and recycling WEEE over the coming years. We are keen to bring in a wide range of stakeholders, to tackle common challenges and inform future sustainability improvements.

“We’re looking forward to hearing a range of views throughout the project, so that together we can deliver outputs that we own collectively as a sector.”


WEEE Conference

5 June 2019, Wellcome Collection

The WEEE Fund, WEEE collection rates and progress towards future targets will be among the topics covered at the 2019 WEEE Conference. Join us to debate these issues and more.



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