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Defra release final WEEE collection targets for 2021

Defra have released their final WEEE collection targets for 2021, based on data that excludes 2020 collection performance.

This year’s WEEE collection targets have been unavoidably influenced by the impact of the COVID pandemic and in setting the targets for 2021, Defra have decided not to employ 2020 collections data in the target setting methodology, as average 2020 collections were around 50% lower than 2019.

The lockdown restrictions in 2020 meant householders could no longer dispose of WEEE at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) for a period of time, and compliance schemes were in turn restricted in their ability to collect evidence.

The proposed collection targets

The final 2021 UK household WEEE collection target is 503,629 tonnes, which constitutes a 946 tonne increase from the total household WEEE collections by PCS in 2019. The overall target for 2021 is 6,291 tonnes more than in 2020.

As usual, Defra have stipulated that Compliance Schemes will not have to achieve individual collection targets in categories 2-10, as long as the overall aggregated target has been achieved.

As 2020 data has been discounted from the calculation, a five year (2015-19) trend forecast has been used to pinpoint the total collection tonnage for the WEEE categories listed in the table above. Defra state that this will mitigate the effect of any outlying data. Therefore, as expected, many of the targets are only minimally higher than those in 2020.

Clement Gaubert, Head of operations at Ecosurety, commented "We welcome the 2021 WEEE collection targets that have now been confirmed by Defra. We support Defra’s decision to revise down the proposed targets released at the beginning of March for Display Equipment, Cooling Appliances and Gas discharge lamps. This is a sensible change especially for Gas discharge lamps since it was the least performing category last year as the UK collection target for that stream was only 76% achieved."

"Reports from the industry suggest that Quarter 1 household WEEE volumes are significantly behind Q1 2020 levels which was a quarter not hugely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. If this trend is confirmed by the Quarter 1 data, the industry should be prepared for another challenging year." 

"It will be very interesting to see if the Quarter 1 data reflects the impact of communication campaigns run by Material Focus and changes to retailer take-back obligations introduced in January."

If you would like any more information on the proposed WEEE targets, or have any queries, please contact our team.


Louisa Goodfellow

Policy advisor

As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.


Written by Louisa Goodfellow Published 30/03/2021 Topics WEEE

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