A recent report from the environment agency has confirmed UK performance in meeting 2016 WEEE collection targets. In summary, the data shows that the total tonnage of WEEE collected in 2016 was 581,415 tonnes exceeding the target of 544,342 tonnes.

2016 collection performance

However, despite this apparent over performance, when we look at the data by material stream there are some clear over and under collections which have posed significant challenges throughout the year.

In particular,

  • an over abundance of cooling equipment appearing as waste in 2016 and a comparatively low target has stretch UK capacity to handle this waste stream increasing waiting times and cost fo treatment.
  • The 2016 target for lamps appeared to be a stretching target with an apparent shortfall identified mid-year. This market shortage pushed up the demand for this waste and the resulting price. The overall shortfall in WEEE collected in this stream means that one or more compliance schemes need to utilise the compliance fee to meet their obligation.
  • Generally, low commodity prices for secondary materials impacted on evidence prices.

While the majority of our members’ obligations fall in the B2B sector and we support with end of life collections on an individual basis, we continue to hold confidence in meeting our B2C members’ obligation into 2017 without the reliance on the compliance fee.

Looking ahead

Looking ahead, following the publication of the 2016 collection data DEFRA have drafted 2017 WEEE targets.

The UK WEEE collection target for 2017 is 775,862 tonnes. Of this 142,219 tonnes will come from “substantiated estimates” of WEEE arising from other sourced, such as B2B WEEE and LDA appearing in light iron streams. The remaining 633,643 tonnes will form B2C collection targets.

This increase is expected and DEFRA have factored in the apparent over and undercollections during 2016 to facilitate the WEEE system. Notably, this includes:

  • an increases in targets for LDA and cooling appliances to cater for surplus collections in 2016
  • a reduction in the target for lamps

Commenting on the change, James Champ, Compliance Manager at B2B Compliance adds: “The adjustment in targets across the board appear to be thoughtful to mitigate against problems experienced in the system in 2016. In particular, LDA and cooling equipment were a big issue. Targets were not incentivising these materials to be treated within the system and local authorities were turning to invoking regulation 34 arrangements, where current arrangements were not longer getting them access to the collections needed to operate their sites”.

Final 2017 B2C WEEE targets are to be published by 31st March 2017.

Author: James Champ