Collect and Recycle

WEEE collection rate rises as tonnage falls

Provisional WEEE collection data now available via the website of the Environment Agency shows that there has been a rise in the collection rate for waste electricals, although there has also been a drop in the overall tonnage in the amount of collected WEEE, report IT recyclers Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com).

The period between January and March 2013 saw the collection for recycling of a total of 112,415 tonnes of household and non-household WEEE. Comparing this to the amount of new electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed onto the market during the preceding three years reveals this to amount to a collection rate of around 30.22 per cent.

However, in disappointing figures for many waste disposal companies, the overall picture from the data is one of an apparent fall in the amount of WEEE collected for recycling when compared to the same period in 2012. Whereas 125,875 tonnes were collected in the first quarter of last year, in the first three months of this year, only 112,415 collected tonnes were recorded.

There is, however, division between compliance schemes as to whether the data supports the suggestion that change needs to be made to the WEEE recycling regime if sufficient tonnage is to be collected to meet stiffer recycling targets that are set to come into effect from 2016.

It is expected that next month will see the publication by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) of its response to its consultation on proposed alterations to the system, with new legislation due to come into effect by January next year.

The changes are being introduced to incorporate the terms of the Recast of the WEEE Directive, which was passed on the continent last year and includes a heightening target for the recycling of 45 per cent of WEEE placed onto the market by 2016. Measures have also been proposed by the government in response to claims by equipment producers that the actual cost of WEEE disposal is not reflected in the present arrangement.

Among those backing the system remaining in its present state is compliance scheme Electrolink’s chief executive Barry Van Danzig, who has attributed the fall in collected tonnage to fewer cathode ray tube (CRT) screens being collected for recycling with the gradual phasing out of the technology.

He commented: “The current system will deliver the tonnage, it is simply a case of incentivising collections. The proposed changes would in fact dis-incentivise collections as it would be easier to pay a fine than invest in the more difficult WEEE collection systems.”

However, Dr Philip Morton, chief executive of the REPIC compliance scheme, supported the government’s proposed changes to the system, saying that they would result in the recording of material that is not presently accounted for, helping to boost the rate of electrical waste recycling.

The debate will doubtless continue up to the publication of the BIS response. In the meantime, businesses can depend on Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com) for safe and fully compliant computer disposal.

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