WEEE targets ‘very achievable’ says head of BIS

The head of the environment regulator Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), has said the UK will meet the higher WEEE targets set by the EU. Steven Andrews is confident that through improved classification of business and household electrical products, Britain will meet the more stringent EU WEEE collection targets.

Talking at the WEEE Conference in London last month, Mr Andrews of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said that meeting the higher targets of 45% for the collection of electronic and electrical waste, was “very achievable”.

According to a report about the conference published on Lets Recycle, Steven Andrews informed delegates of how, since January 2014, developments made to the WEEE sector had created estimated savings of approximately £20 million to producers. As both the EU’s producer and collection scheme targets had been met, Mr Andrews said the next target of collecting 45% of all WEEE waste that is on the market from 2016 is certainly achievable. As is collecting potentially 65% of all electrical and electronic waste by 2019, added Andrews.

The progress the UK has made in its WEEE system is twofold, Steven Andrews continued. Firstly, it is due to great compliance by producers and secondly because of the greater drive for ‘dual use’.

Scrutiny of the term ‘dual use’ was made after it was revealed Britain’s classification of household and business waste differed from that of the EU Commission. ‘Dual use’ was at the centre of the discrepancy. ‘Dual use’ includes devices such as TVs and computers, which could be used by both consumers and businesses. However, in Britain the definition was also used to describe the quantity of WEEE being presented for collection.
“Dual use is a very tricky issue and one that has been forced on us,” said Mr Andrews. “We think there’s a difference between something built for a B2B and B2C market and I think we can still use that distinction in some dual use,” he added.

Accurate data reporting

The WEEE Conference also discussed how imperative accurate data reporting is in the drive to meet new EU targets. Speaking at the meeting, Chris Grove of the Environment Agency, said that all WEEE should be treated in a ‘compliant manner’.

“We will stamp out waste crime using an intelligent led approach looking to it as a whole waste issue. This will help us to map WEEE flows,” said Chris Grove.

Through improved classification and greater compliance amongst producers, it seems Britain might be well on its way to meeting the stringent EU WEEE targets of potentially collecting 65% of WEEE produced on the market by 2019.