Strong quarterly results

Following the gradual reopening of household waste recycling centres this summer after the initial national lockdown, more than double the amount of collected household WEEE was reported in Q3 this year compared to Q2, totalling 133,427 tonnes. Q3 2020 was also 1% higher than the same period in 2019.

Q3 2020 WEEE results

Very strong results were recorded for Large appliances and Cooling in Q3, with increases of 12% and 3% respectively, compared with the same period in 2019.

Poor Year To Date results

Despite the positive quarterly results, the total amount collected in 2020 is a disappointing 331,989 tonnes of household WEEE, only 67% of the UK collection target of 497,338 tonnes set by Defra in March. At Q3 we would hope to be reaching at least 75%.

WEEE collections in the second quarter were badly hit by the introduction of local restrictions across the devolved nations due to COVID, with household WEEE collections reported in Q2 only 52% of those in the same period in 2019.

The prospect for Q4 figures is not great due to the new tiered system and further lockdowns that have been implemented are likely to have an impact on collections. In addition, the period covering October to December is historically the least performing of the year. Government data for Q4 2020 is expected to be released in February 2021.

Compliance fee and DTS

Although Defra revised the collection target in anticipation of the impact of COVID-19, the need for a compliance fee this year is already confirmed by these figures. Two proposals were submitted to Defra for the WEEE compliance fee, one from Valpak and one from the JTA, both considering the impact of COVID-19 on their proposed compliance fee methodology. The industry is now eagerly waiting for Defra to announce the successful methodology and the chosen administrator to manage the compliance fee – expected to be announced by Defra around February 2021.

The proportion of household WEEE captured across HWRCs is going down year on year (70% in 2017, 65% in 2018 and 62% in 2019). With changes to the Distributor Take-back Scheme (DTS) less than a month away, the predominance of HWRCs in the total WEEE collection figures might reduce further as consumers start to return more unwanted electricals in stores.

To find out more about the requirements of retailers for WEEE take-back, and how B2B Compliance can help, please click here.

High volumes placed on the market

2020 has been an extremely unusual and challenging year and the volume of EEE placed on the UK market also reflects these unprecedented times. An astonishing volume of 415,314 tonnes of household EEE was reported in Q3 2020, which constitutes a growth of 22% against Q3 2019. It is also the biggest volume of EEE recorded in any quarter since Q4 2015. EEE volume is up 5.5% after the first three quarters of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

These numbers underline the impact COVID-19 has had on the time we spend at home for work and/or entertainment. It will be interesting to see what Defra makes of this increase in the volume of EEE when setting the collection target for 2021.

To discuss how the latest WEEE collection figure impact you, please contact our team.