Defra has published the final collection targets for 2019. These have seen a slight adjustment to the initial proposals put out for consultation a month ago but have been kept in line with the overall theme of meeting the EU target of 65% of the annual weight of EEE placed onto the UK market averaged over the last three years. Approximately 10k tonnes of the increase has come from the discovery that non-obligated WEEE – which Defra has added in to the equation of tonnage treated – has been previously significantly overstated. But the remaining increase has been applied by Defra in reference to the 65% target and sees a requirement for producer compliance schemes to collect 12% more than was collected in 2018, a total of 58k tonnes.
Given that we are now 3 months into the year, this will be an extremely steep challenge. The table below shows how WEEE collections have been in decline since 2016. Lower sales, lighter products, more reuse and the more uncertain economy have all contributed to the decrease in available material, but there is still a huge gap between the total EEE placed on the market each year and the total WEEE collected for treatment. In 2018, nearly 1.6m tonnes of electrical equipment was sold of which 1.27m was classed as household WEEE. Just over 500k tonnes of WEEE was collected and treated by accredited WEEE treatment facilities, a recorded collection rate of less than 32%.
The AATF Forum fully supports the published targets, but strongly believes there needs to be coordinated national action if the UK has any chance of meeting them.