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Government’s decision to lower the WEEE collection targets is vindicated

Defra has released the figures for the UK’s collections of WEEE throughout Q1 of 2018 – and the figures show that the reduced targets for 2018 were definitely the best decision for the industry.

However, the release of the figures does show, that it may well still be a difficult year. The data released by the Environment Agency on 1st June shows that we are down against the targets in terms of where we would expect to be a quarter of the way through the year. As you can see in the graph below – when each of the collections for Q1 per category (orange) and compared against the quarterly targets (green) – every single category is behind the expected progress.

In terms of actual tonnage shortfall when compared to the targets, of particular concern are large household appliances – which is already 2788 tonnes behind target, and refrigerants with 5525 tonne shortfall.

At this point in the year, it is hard to say whether the UK will be able to recover from its current situation – and actually hit the annual target by the end of 2018.

The table below shows the actual percentage of annual targets that the collections per category have seen in Q1. Of course, we would hope that it was 25% and above – however for each of the categories we are looking at somewhere between 21-24%.

Although it looks like the UK is slipping behind – Q2 and Q3 often do see increased collections, so the shortfall could well be pulled back. That said, despite the decrease in targets from 2017 to 2018 – the targets for 2018 are higher than the total collections for 2017 – so it will be a hard fought battle!

The general trend of falling collection figures may be down to a number of changes in the industry; but newer EEE products that tend to be much more lightweight than older products previously placed on the market is thought to be the biggest problem within this system that is fixated on weight.

"WEEE simply does not appear to be arising in the same volumes as it was in the past."

When asked to comment on the release of the first quarterly figures for 2018 – Robbie Staniforth, Ecosurety’s policy manager, responded; “The figures released appear to vindicate the government’s decision to lower the WEEE collection targets this year. WEEE simply does not appear to be arising in the same volumes as it was in the past. The legislation, as it stands, is not helping to drive investment in recycling, create collection solutions or help with communicating to citizens. When the government complete their implementation review later this year, we expect to see appetite to improve the law for the benefit of the whole industry. Michael Gove and his department, Defra, have zoned in on extended producer responsibility for packaging in recent months, it will be interesting to see if they have equal desire to change a regulation that is unlikely to grab any mainstream headlines.”

If you would like to know more about how this affects your compliance, please get in touch with our team on 0845 094 2228.


Anna Ford

Account manager

Anna provides key support for Ecosurety members across the batteries, packaging and WEEE regulations, with a particular focus on import and manufacture companies. Helping with data submissions, calculating obligations and making the nuances of the producer responsibility regulations understandable are all in a days work.


Written by Anna Ford Published 04/06/2018 Topics WEEE

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