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DEFRA considers WEEE target rise

March 1, 2019

(Credit: CIWM Journal)

The British Government’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has informed producer compliance schemes that WEEE collection targets could rise by 12 percent.

The Department released proposed targets for 2019 to WEEE collection and recycling organisations this week, with an overall collection target favoured of 550,132 tonnes – a 13,000 tonne increase from 2018, according to LetsRecycle.

Although producers have questioned whether the target is feasible, WEEE reprocessors have welcomed the proposals, saying it could boost the amount of e-waste received at their facilities.

Currently, a higher collections target is necessary for the UK to meet its European Union requirement, obliging the country to collect the equivalent of 65 percent of the weight of the EEE placed onto the market in the three previous years. Until now, the target level has sat at 45 percent, just under half.

The proposed new target of 65 percent takes into account “substantiated estimates” of WEEE that has been recycled by third parties outside of the WEEE system, such as by scrap metal recyclers. It comes after a spell of apparent decline for WEEE collections, with targets being missed for consecutive years. Partial explanations for this include “lighter products being placed onto the market, increasing reuse of products and hoarding of goods by consumers,” according to LetsRecycle.

More than £8 million ($10.57 million/€9.3 million) was raised in 2017 by the payment of compliance fees – paid by those producer compliance schemes that didn’t meet their individual targets. The money raised will finance projects intended to boost the collection of WEEE in future, and DEFRA has said it hopes that this funding will be of assistance in meeting the higher targets for 2019.

Current plans for the money include financing a “major national communication and behaviour change campaign” which seeks to inform about the protection of data, and the safe recycling of smaller WEEE, and studies into business WEEE flows and the volume of equipment placed onto UK markets but exported before it becomes WEEE.


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