Surge in electronic equipment could hinder 2016 WEEE targets

Whilst the UK is on track to meet its collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling targets for 2015, an increasing surge in the amount of new electronical products entering the market could mean it’s difficult for future targets to be met.

The Environmental Agency recently published data revealing that between January and September 2015, 387,774 tonnes of household WEEE from all categories was collected, putting the UK on course to meet its recycling targets to collect 506,878 tonnes of electronic and electrical waste by the end of the year.

Despite being on goal to meet objectives, the sheer volume of new products circulating the marketplace could potentially hamper the UK reaching future targets.

According to a report in Let’s Recycle, between January and September 2015 there has been approximately a 15 percent increase in the amount of new electrical and electronic equipment (EEEE) now available for UK consumers compared to the same period in the previous year. Consequently, this could mean that in order for Britain to reach its statutory target of collecting 45 percent in WEEE, a significantly higher proportion of WEEE might need to be collected and recycled.

This is due to the fact that WEEE targets were set in relation to the amount of EEE on the market at that time. As the 2016 target was set against the amount of EEE on the market in previous years, because of an increase in the amount of electronic and electrical products on the market, meeting the 2016 targets could prove more challenging.

As Let’s Recycle states:

“If the volumes of EEE placed on the market in the last quarter of 2015 were simply to mirror those seen in the final quarter of the previous year, the UK may have to collect as much as 557,000 tonnes of WEEE to meet the 45% target for 2016.”

Whilst the Department for Business (BIS) is confident that the overall 2015 WEEE target is going to be met, it has offered no insight or commentary on the likelihood of targets in future years. As a spokesperson for BIS said:

“The Q3 data shows we are broadly on track to achieve collections in line with targets placed on Producer Compliance Schemes at the start of the year.”

The European Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive aims to reduce the amount of WEEE making its way to landfills by ensuring that producers and manufacturers take responsibility of the products they sell at the end of their lifecycle.

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