The Environment Agency released the Q1 2020 WEEE collection results yesterday which show a very good start to the year against the annual targets.

In all, five categories surpassed 25% of the annual target with a further six categories reaching 24%. Categories performing particularly well were Category 1, Large Household Appliances and Category 14, Photovoltaic Panels.Q1 2020 WEEE collection results

It should be noted that due to mounting concerns about the impact COVID-19 and the Government imposed lockdown could have on WEEE collections, the draft annual WEEE collection targets for 2020 were revised down in March.

Ministers approved revised targets 40,637 tonnes less than that the original draft figures, and 5,149 tonnes less than the total amount of household WEEE collected in 2019.

Q1 WEEE collection results

Looking at Q1 collection results since 2010, it is clear that this year has returned the best tonnage increase since 2016, which is certainly pleasing to see. We must take into account that we are yet to see the impact of COVID-19 be reflected in the collection results however.

With Council run household recycling sites closed for extended periods since the lockdown started in March, it is expected that collection figures may well look very different in the 2020 Q2 results.

Robbie Staniforth, head of policy at B2B Compliance commented “It is pleasing to see a marked increase in collections in the first quarter compared to much lower collection rates during this period over the last two years. Although the overall uptick is due to the disproportional affect large domestic goods has on the total data, it is still pleasing to see a return to the higher collection levels of 2017.”

“However, the outlook for 2020 is fairly bleak in terms of meeting targets. Quarter one saw very little impact of COVID-19 on operations at household recycling sites. We know April and May will be fallow months as many sites either had to close or deprioritise the acceptance of WEEE items. It highlights just how reliant the UK WEEE compliance system is on council operated sites. It is clear that citizens need a greater diversity of options for disposing of old items to be reused or recycled.”

Last month we reported on two new initiatives launched by the WEEE Fund to boost collections of consumer waste and support recyclers and charities impacted by COVID-19. Initiatives such as these are clearly required to help a sector that needs support.