Collect and Recycle

WEEE collection rates rise, despite tonnage falling

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There was a fractional rise in the rate of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collection in the UK last year, assisted by a decline in the tonnage of new products being placed onto the market, report the experts in electrical waste recycling at Collect and Recycle.

The provisional figures, which were recently sent to compliance schemes by the Environment Agency, show a total collection rate for household and non-household WEEE of 35.37% for 2012, compared to 2011’s figure of 34.41%. This is despite a decline in the actual tonnage of material collected, with last year’s 504,563 tonne figure comparing to the 517,142 tonnes collected in 2011.

However, the collection rate remaining higher can be attributed to the tonnage of new products placed onto the market also plummeting, from 1,502,748 in 2011 to last year’s figure of 1,426,243 tonnes. The link to the amount of new electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) being placed on the market allows for the proportionate calculation of collection rates.

Although the figures still leave the UK short of the 45% target set out in the Recast of the WEEE Directive which will be applicable to Member States from 2006, its existing collection level could still possibly allow it to reach the target if ‘non-obligated’ WEEE received from outside of the producer compliance system is counted towards recycling targets.

According to the data, 2012 saw the collection of a total of 158,039 tonnes of non-obligated WEEE, with 2011 recording less than half of that. It means that the counting of both obligated and non-obligated WEEE would bring the overall collection rate to around 46%.

Ahead of a consultation in the next few weeks by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) on changing the WEEE system to bring it in line with the Recast, a spokesman for the government department with responsibility for the UK’s WEEE disposal sector called the results “encouraging”.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of producer compliance scheme REPIC, Phil Morton, said that the decline in the tonnage of material collected should not concern the WEEE sector, stating: “It is to be expected that the tonnage of WEEE collected is falling, despite the increased collection rate. This is a direct result of the continuous ‘light weighting’ of many products.”

Morton added that “while the absolute tonnages of WEEE has fallen, and may continue to fall, the rate of return relative to the sales of new EEE has gone up and may well continue to increase, so we are actually capturing proportionately more.”

Collect and Recycle ( has an impeccable reputation for WEEE recycling, as it collects and disposes of all manner of electrical waste, covering computer recycling, photocopier and printer recycling, domestic appliance recycling and so much more. Our operatives are fully trained and fully comply with relevant law at all times.

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