WEEE compliance schemes will be required to increase the rate at which they are collecting waste electricals for recycling, under proposed targets for 2016 outlined today (24 February).
Under the proposed target, which has been circulated by the Department for Business (BIS), compliance schemes will be required to collect a total of 528,000 tonnes of WEEE in 2016 – roughly 16,000 tonnes higher than the overall tonnage of household WEEE collected in 2015.
Increases come for most categories of WEEE despite collection targets for some material streams having not been met for 2015, according to figures published alongside the WEEE targets today.
The figures show that both large and small household appliances fell short of their collection targets for 2015, meaning that compliance schemes may have to opt to pay a compliance fee to meet their 2015 obligations.
According to BIS, the overall 2016 target is below the required collection level needed to achieve the EU’s 45% target for the year, which stands at around 730,000 tonnes. However, officials have claimed that the gap will be bridged by using ‘substantiated estimates’ of WEEE treated outside of the compliance system.
An example of where substantiated estimates could apply is counting a proportion of light iron scrap – which is likely to contain material from large domestic appliances (LDA) – toward the WEEE target. LDA is estimated to make up around 11% of light iron scrap, and therefore could be counted as ‘non-obligated WEEE’.
The 2016 targets have been based upon the average annual growth in the tonnage of WEEE collected for recycling since 2011, reflecting the trend in the volumes of WEEE collected over that time.
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.
Significant changes have also occurred in the calculation of the obligation for lamps – for which a greater tonnage of WEEE became available in 2015 due to changes in the classification of ‘dual use’ WEEE.
Definitions of household and non-household WEEE were amended after the UK’s classification of household and business WEEE were found to be at odds with that held by the European Commission.
The difference centred on the interpretation of ‘dual use’ WEEE, which includes items such as PCs or television screens, which could conceivably be used in business or by consumers. In the UK, the definition was also qualified by the quantity of WEEE being presented for collection.
The change saw a significantly higher proportion of lamps enter the ‘household’ WEEE system, and fall under the scope of the target – a fact that has been recognised in the 2016 target level.
Commenting on the target for lamps, Nigel Harvey, chief executive of the compliance scheme Recolight, said: “At Recolight we welcome the proposed lamp target. Dual use means that all lamp producers now need to fund their share of the target. The increase in the target also means that the recycling of most waste lamps in 2016 should be funded by producers. That is great news for businesses and the public sector alike, where they discard waste lamps. All should now be able to access free of charge lamp recycling.”