Environment Agency data shows retailers collected 146,104 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) via in-store takeback schemes in 2021.
This figure was only marginally higher than the 142,785 tonnes collected in 2020, before new requirements came into effect.
While some retailers have taken back WEEE in-store for several years, as of 1 January 2021 large retailers who have a turnover for sales of electronic equipment in excess of £100,000 have been legally required to do so.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates an additional 25,000 stores are now members of the UK’s distributor takeback scheme since the rules came into effect.
A Defra spokesperson said this meant there was a “significant” rise in the number of stores across the country offering consumers a WEEE collection point.
However, an increase in collection points has not seen the amount of WEEE collected by retailers increase by much.
Material Focus, the not-for-profit organisation funded by the WEEE compliance fee and behind the Recycle Your Electricals campaign, said that there had been “a number of challenges” facing retailers in 2021, including the Covid-19 pandemic.
A spokesperson said: “In-store takeback has had a slow start, but that is unsurprising given the events of the last two years.
“However, as the world returns to normal, we would encourage more retailers, who are obliged to takeback in-store, to promote this to their customers.
“In-store takeback could be a great opportunity for retailers to support their shoppers, communities, employees and the environment to recycle their electricals and ensure that all the precious materials contained electricals are recycled.”
Large household appliances made up a significant proportion of the WEEE collected in-store in 2021 according to the data from the Environment Agency, at 94,329 tonnes. In 2020, retailers collected 93,026 tonnes of large household appliances.
The amount of cooling appliances containing refrigerants collected by retailers declined from 2020 to 2021. Retailers collected 43,647 tonnes in 2021, down from 46,442 tonnes the year before.
Retailers also collected 5,883 tonnes of display equipment in 2021, up from 1,315 tonnes in 2020.
No more than 700 tonnes of any other category of WEEE were collected by retailers via in-store takeback in 2021.
If you’re looking to set up in-branch arrangements for the first time but you’re not sure where to start, contact our team for a comprehensive take-back system.
Contact our team today for the reassurance of reliable, environmentally responsible collection, transport and recycling of goods that are no longer needed.