Material Focus has conducted new research, with the support of Ricardo, aimed at identifying metrics to enhance the UK's waste electrical and portable battery systems' circularity.
Currently, regulations require manufacturers to report the weight of electrical products sold in the UK, broken down by category, which disregards the importance of circular design, changes in product design, and the quality and efficiency of recycling processes. Furthermore, the regulations concentrate solely on recycling WEEE at the end of life, neglecting waste reduction options such as repair, reuse, and refurbishment.
The report highlights various new methods to capture EEE data that can help enhance the circularity of the system. These include reporting the product weight, gathering information on the quantities and specific product categories, and collecting data on the channels through which the items are sold.
Additionally, the study recommends creating a national material recovery rate reporting system, conducting surveys to ascertain the amount of hoarded WEEE and portable batteries, and establishing a national system to monitor the number of UK drop-off points available for used electricals and batteries.
These changes are intended to encourage better separation, collection, and sorting to concentrate on valuable raw materials and improve infrastructure development, recycling services, and repair.
A positive step forward
Commenting on the research, Ecosurety Policy advisor, Louisa Goodfellow said: "We welcome Material Focus's new research on proposed metrics to enhance the UK's waste electrical and portable battery systems' circularity.
“We believe that collecting more detailed product categories, data on sales channels, and other key information will help improve the efficiency and quality of recycling processes and increase the focus on valuable raw materials.
“Furthermore, the survey to be carried out by members of the public on hoarded WEEE and portable batteries will provide valuable insights into consumer behaviour and awareness. Overall, we see these recommendations as a positive step forward in improving the UK's waste management infrastructure."
We expect these areas to be reviewed in the upcoming WEEE consultation which is due for release in Q2 this year. If you have questions regarding the Material Focus report or the upcoming consultation, please get in touch.