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WEEE targets missed, says DEFRA

March 5, 2019

The British Government’s Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has revealed that targets for WEEE collection have been missed for the second successive year.

The figures, released at the end of last week, show that the UK fell short of its collection target by approximately 44,533 tonnes, collecting just under 493,000 tonnes in total, according to LetsRecycle.

Only two WEEE categories, Small Household Appliances and Photovoltaic Panels, exceeded their category targets. The wider failure means that some producer compliance schemes will be obliged to pay a Compliance Fee, which goes on to fund initiatives aimed at ensuring obligations are fulfilled the next year.

A total of £8 million ($10.57 million/€9.3 million) was raised this way in 2017, when he collection target was also missed, by as much as 100,000 tonnes.

“The Q4 WEEE figures published today immediately suggest that a number of compliance schemes will be obliged to refer to the WEEE compliance fee option to balance their books,” said Sue Nolan, Procurement Manager at producer compliance scheme Ecosurety, in response to the new data. “Ecosurety urges Defra to ensure the money raised through the WEEE compliance fee is invested into an effective programme that seeks to improve both the collection and reprocessing of EEE but also considers ways that businesses can be better incentivised to source recycling evidence for their electrical products.”

Current plans for use of 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.

Last week, DEFRA announced it was considering raising the WEEE collection target by 12 percent, to 550,000 tonnes, an idea that provoked concern from producers. This higher collections target is required for the UK to fulfil its European Union requirement to collect the equivalent of 65 percent of the weight of EEE placed onto the market in the preceding three years. The target until now has been 45 percent.

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