The UK’s WEEE collection rate rose fractionally in 2012, despite lower actual collections, but aided by a fall in the tonnage of new products placed onto the market, data published by the Environment Agency last week has shown. The provisional figures show that the total collection rate for household and non-household waste electrical and electronic equipmentreached 35.37% for 2012 compared to a total collection rate of 34.41% achieved in 2011. This is despite the actual tonnage of material collected falling, from 517,142 tonnes in 2011, to 504,563 tonnes last year. However, the collection rate has remained higher as the tonnage of new products placed onto the market has also fallen by over 76,000 tonnes in 2012. Meanwhile, the figures show that the recorded collection of WEEE generated by businesses (B2B) remained at a similar low level as during previous years. Responding to the latest figures, David Burton, project director of B2B Compliance, said that data collection methods should be altered to ensure that the actual level of B2B WEEE collection is recorded. He said: “The so-called low collection rates of B2B WEEE remaining unchanged at around 5% clearly demonstrates the inadequacy of the current system of counting what happens to end-of-life equipment from the non-household sector. Much B2B EEE is either collected for refurbishment, or deployed under extensive long term maintenance contracts. In the latter case such EEE is subject to constant updating and, ultimately, stripped for spares – in all circumstances the spare parts are out of scope and the discarded shells, not being complete products, are not WEEE by definition. In all reality the collection rate of B2B WEEE and Used EEE is probably on a par with the B2C sector but the majority is simply not being captured by the current data collection methodology.”