The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has finalised the collection targets for household waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) for 2022, raising the overall goal by 4% to 511,377 tonnes.
The targets confirm the amount of WEEE that all producer compliance schemes must collect and send for recycling on behalf of their members.
The overall target is 20,836 tonnes more than the 490,541 tonnes of household WEEE collected by producer schemes in 2021. It is also 7,748 tonnes more than the missed 2021 target of 503,629 tonnes.
Defra says its starting point for setting the targets was to undertake a six-year trend forecast covering the years from 2015 to 2021. However, Defra says it did not use data from 2020 because it was an “extraordinary year”.
The ability of consumers to dispose of WEEE in 2020 was “severely limited” by restrictions on household waste recycling centres and travel because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Defra says.
This year’s ambitious targets reflect Defra’s belief that collection should return to pre-pandemic levels.
The WEEE collection targets have been missed for the last five years, meaning the compliance fee been needed to achieve compliance.
Small mixed WEEE
Defra says it “uplifted” its targets for small mixed WEEE by 12% to 137,130 tonnes to reflect collections at pre-pandemic levels.
It can be “reasonably assumed” that the impact of last year’s introduction of compulsory 1:1 takeback by large retailers was “stunted” by the pandemic, Defra says.
The department adds that the pandemic will also have impacted the Recycle Your Electricals consumer communications campaign, run by Material Focus.
Defra said it would expect both these measures to have a greater impact in 2022.
Meanwhile, Defra is considering making producers fund the free collection of bulky WEEE from the kerbside in a bid to increase collections.
The proposal forms part of its review of WEEE regulations, the first consultation on which is expected in June.
Consultancy Anthesis is working with Defra on the review and is undertaking research to underline several proposals.
Alongside producers funding bulky WEEE collections, these proposals include introducing new obligations for online marketplaces and strengthening obligations for internet sellers.