New recycling minister hails launch of WEEE regs consultation

Defra has today (28 December) published its long-awaited consultation on reforms to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013, which have been praised by the new recycling minister, Robbie Moore. 

Household collections of WEEE will be rolled out nationwide from 2026

The consultation was mistakenly published last week, before it was quickly pulled by the department.

The consultation announcement included a line from Robbie Moore MP, who was appointed Defra minister during the cabinet reshuffle last month and has now been handed responsibility for Defra’s resources and waste brief, replacing Rebecca Pow. Mr Moore’s family own a plastic recycling business specialising in farm plastics.

Measures in the consultation which will be introduced “from 2026” include:

  • UK-wide collections of waste electricals directly from households
  • Large retailers rolling out collection drop points for electrical items in-store, free of charge, without the need to buy a replacement product
  • Retailers and online sellers taking on responsibility for collecting unwanted or broken large electrical items such as fridges or cookers when delivering a replacement

Defra said the proposals will mean consumers will be able to recycle their goods during their weekly shop or without even leaving the house.

‘Circular economy’

Recycling Minister Robbie Moore said:  “Every year millions of household electricals across the UK end up in the bin rather than being correctly recycled or reused. This is a sheer waste of our natural resources and has to stop.

Robbie Moore MP now has responsibility for resources and waste

“We all have a drawer of old tech somewhere that we don’t know what to do with and our proposals will ensure these gadgets are easy to dispose of without the need for a trip to your local tip. Our plans will also drive the move to a more circular economy and create new jobs by making all recycling simpler.”


Defra also said the proposals will “ensure suppliers of vapes properly finance the cost of their separate collection and treatment when the items become waste”. This will be done through making vapes a separate category under the regulations, obligating producers of them to cover the cost of recycling.

Other measures include extending obligations to contribute to the collection of waste electricals and the financing of their recycling and preparation for reuse to online marketplaces such as Amazon. “This would ensure that major international suppliers have to comply with the regulations as well – not just British businesses,” the department said.

Defra added that increasing the collection and recycling of waste electricals has the potential to drive greater investment in the UK’s treatment and re-use sector, helping to create British jobs and deliver on the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy.


The delayed consultation announcement include statements from a string of industry figures.

Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association, said: “Far too many electronic devices currently end up in the bin, so making it simpler and more convenient for householders to recycle waste electricals at home will undoubtedly play a key role in helping our sector return the valuable and rare materials in these devices back to the circular economy.

“On behalf of those operating recycling centres and kerbside collection services, we welcome the opportunity to contribute through consultation and help create an effective system that delivers on its intended outcomes and works, not just for householders, but for obligated producers and retailers too.

“Waste electricals and particularly vapes increasingly contain powerful batteries and are now responsible for hundreds of serious fires every year when not recycled responsibly, so we hope that offering convenient and widespread household collection services for these devices will also help reverse the growing trend of battery fires blighting the sector.”

Rob Sant, managing director of AO.com’s electrical recycling operations, said: “We’re the only UK electricals retailer with its own fridge recycling plant, having invested over £20m in our mission to make new appliances out of old ones through our facilities. We recycle a fifth of all the fridges that are thrown away each year and, since we opened it in 2017, we’ve recycled or reused over seven million large appliances.

“Being both a retailer and a recycler gives us a unique perspective to input to this consultation on the practicalities for our industry, driving higher standards and making it easier for customers to recycle more electrical waste.”


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