Confirmation that UK met 2014 WEEE Targets

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The latest data published by the Environment Agency on the 8th April 2015 has suggested that the UK exceeded its 2014 waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) targets.  This follows confusion earlier in the year on whether the targets had actually been met due to perceived data inconsistencies.

In February 2015 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced that the UK had exceeded its 2014 WEEE collection target of 490,000 tonnes by collecting 491,007 tonnes.  However, these figures were quickly questioned when the Environment Agency published conflicting data in March 2015 that suggested  the UK had actually fallen short of the target by approximately 10,000 tonnes.

This latest, revised data indicates that the UK has indeed exceeded its 2014 target by collecting 494,254 tonnes of WEEE, which is a significant increase on the original data sets.

The new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (WEEE Regulations) were introduced in the UK in 2014 and, according to BIS, have seen a 4% increase in the collections of WEEE since 2013, as well as estimated savings to producers of electrical equipment in excess of £18 million.

The new regulations implemented commitments to reduce producer compliance costs and transposed the requirements of the recast EU WEEE Directive that included new collection targets for all member states.  Under the legislation, all producers that place more than five tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment on the market must be part of a Producer Compliance Scheme and take responsibility for financing the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of all non-household WEEE.  

The release of this data from the Environment Agency comes after BIS revealed that the collection target for WEEE will rise by around 16,000 tonnes in 2015, with the final collection target for 2015 compliance schemes being set at 506,878 tonnes.  This exceeds the overall collection target needed to achieve the EU Member State target of 484,661 tonnes for 2015, but has been met with positivity by producer compliance schemes and the electronics sector.

Every year the UK throws away approximately 2 million tonnes of WEEE.  The EU WEEE Directive, UK WEEE Regulations and associated collection targets were introduced to manage these potentially hazardous waste streams and improve producer resource efficiency. 

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