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Defra lowers WEEE collection targets

March 12, 2018

(Credit: CIWM Journal)

The UK Government’s environmental ministry has announced a provisional decrease in target tonnage for 2018.

Following news that UK compliance schemes missed the WEEE collection target in 2017, Defra has announced a reduction in the collection target for 2018. The provisional target of 532,818 tonnes is nearly 100,000 tonnes lower than last year’s aim, reports Last year’s target was itself reduced by more than 10,000 tonnes from its initial goal.

Compliance schemes will now have a chance to review the targets, and respond to them, before they are finalised by Defra later this month.

Every category has seen a reduction in the collection target, with the decreases ranging from relatively small (a drop of 5 percent for Small Household Appliances) to enormous (the Automatic Dispensers target falling 99 percent.)

The Large Household Appliances category saw the target shrink by 18 percent, to 190,171 tonnes from 232,811, whilst the IT and Telcomms Equipment fell from 57,879 tonnes to 48,437 tonnes – an 8 percent difference compared to last year.

The total target is notably below the levels of collection necessary to meet targets imposed by the European Union upon the UK as a Member State, specifically, 786,211 tonnes. However, many compliance schemes have said that once substantiated estimates are accounted for, the UK remains on course to meet the EU’s targets; they cited a study, which suggested as much as 10 percent of scrap metal could be classed in the Large Household Appliances bracket, which would account for an extra half a million tonnes.

 “Defra’s methodology of using the 2017 collection data as a starting point is sensible,” commented Mark Burrows-Smith, the CEO of compliance scheme REPIC, “especially considering that EEE placed on the market fell in 2017. It is important that targets are challenging yet reflect current market dynamics.”

However, Paul Van Danzig, the sales and marketing director of Electrolink, took the opposite view, and stated that the reduction in ambition sent out the wrong message, and called the drop “disappointing.”

“Only time will tell whether they have been set at the right levels,” opined Van Danzig “Moving on, we should be looking at some big questions and benchmarking our performance against the percentage placed on the market.”

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