On 1st September the Environment Agency (EA) published the latest figures for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Q2 collections. As highlighted by the provisional data released in August, the figures confirmed the quarterly target was missed due to significant disruption to services caused by the pandemic.
The figures show that a little over 64,000 tonnes was collected between April and June 2020; a 50% fall in collections when compared to 2019. The low collection rate was expected as an outcome of the challenges faced by the pandemic and national lockdown which resulted in restricted access, and in some cases, closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HMRCs). Since much household WEEE is collected via HMRCs, their closure meant collection levels were significantly impacted.
When Q1 data is taken into consideration and combined with Q2, a total of 197,753 tonnes of household WEEE has been collected this year. The annual target, set by Defra in March, is 537,976 tonnes therefore progress to target is currently 37% at the halfway point, thus considerable catch up is required if the 2020 target is to be met.
The outlook for Q3 is seemly positive with collection volumes beginning to increase as a result of the reopening of recycling centres. The final Q3 published data will be eagerly awaited by industry and is likely to provide further indication of the impact of the pandemic on achieving the 2020 targets.
Failure to meet the targets results in a compliance fee becoming payable by some compliance schemes on behalf of their members. Defra have confirmed that the impact of Covid-19 will be taken into account when considering the methodologies for the compliance fee this year.