Q2 WEEE data shows UK close to hitting targets

The volume of collected waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the UK fell slightly in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the first quarter, but the UK is nearly on track to meet annual targets.

Defra published its guidance for the BATRRT and treatment of WEEE in 2006 (picture: Shutterstock)

Data published by the Environment Agency on 1 September showed that there were 118,347 tonnes collected between April to June this year, compared to 120,227 tonnes between January and March.

For 2021, the Agency has set a target of collecting 503,629 tonnes of household WEEE, an increase of around 9% from the 460,134 tonnes collected and reported by compliance schemes in 2020.

Despite the slight drop in Q2 2021 figures, the UK is nearly on track to meet the target, as around 47.5% has been collected.

The amount collected has nearly doubled from the same three month period (April-June) last year, when the household waste and recycling centres were closed and just 64,000 tonnes were collected (see letsrecycle.com story).

LHA

Collections of large household appliances (LHA) in Q2 2021 were lower than in Q1 2021 at 37,381 tonnes compared to 47,535 tonnes, however non-obligated LHA WEEE collections were higher, at 24,328 tonnes compared to 1,758 tonnes.

Excluding LHA data, total WEEE collections in the first half of 2021 were 48.6% of the 2021 target.

‘Encouraging’

Louise Grantham, chief executive of compliance scheme, REPIC, said that overall, the data looks “encouraging”.

Louise Grantham is the chief executive of compliance scheme REPIC

She explained: “These collection figures are encouraging, because the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions for much of the first half of 2021 are likely to have had an adverse effect on WEEE collections in the first half of the year.

“Total EEE placed on the market remains higher than in 2020, although it fell slightly in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021 – 383,549 tonnes compared to 405,165 tonnes. Sales of EEE have demonstrably been affected by changing consumer spending priorities and business requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Collections of Small Mixed WEEE increased in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021 (33,669 tonnes compared to 28,747 tonnes). Although it may be too early to attribute this to the introduction of mandatory in-store takeback on 1st January, because many retail outlets remained closed for a portion of Q2 2021 due to the Covid-19 restrictions, providing more options for consumers to recycle unwanted electricals should ultimately contribute to increasing Small Mixed WEEE collections.”

Missed targets

Targets for the collection of WEEE have been missed for four consecutive years (see letsrecycle.com story).

Due to restrictions on household waste and recycling centres (HWRC) and travel in 2020, the ability of consumers and producer compliance schemes to dispose of and collect WEEE was severely limited.

For this reason, collections data from 2020 was not used in the target setting process for 2021 (see letsrecycle.com story).

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