The UK fell short of its target for the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) from households in 2018 – the second year in a row that the target has been missed.
Data published by Defra shows that a total of 492,532 tonnes of WEEE was collected for recycling during the year, meaning that the UK fell short of its overall 537,000 target for the year.
The data also suggests that the overall tonnage of electrical waste being collected and reported via the official WEEE system is falling, with around 30,000 tonnes less having been collected and reported as recycled compared to 2017.
Categories of WEEE where targets were missed include large household appliances – which includes items such as washing machines – and display equipment.
Various theories have been put forward as to the downward trend in the collections of old electrical goods from households.
Lighter products being placed onto the market, increasing reuse of products and hoarding of goods by consumers have all been used to explain the trend, and there is also believed to be a proportion of WEEE which ends up being recycled as scrap metal, but is not counted towards the household targets.
Compliance schemes who have been unable to meet their individual targets for the collection of WEEE for 2018 will be required to pay into a ‘compliance fee’ to meet their obligations for the year. The approved compliance fee methodology for 2018 was the JTA's. Money raised from the fee, which topped £8 million for the last missed target, will be used to fund projects which are aimed at boosting the collection of WEEE in future years.
Details of the 2018 performance comes as the government has set out its goal for WEEE collections in 2019.
The 2019 target will seek requires producer compliance schemes to collect and recycle a total of 550,000 tonnes of WEEE – an increase of more than 12% compared to the 2018 collection rate.