Defra lowers WEEE targets for 2018

Posted on 11th April, 2018

Targets for the collection and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) are set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) every year.

After initial discussions which suggested that there would be reductions across the board in the 2018 DEFRA household WEEE targets, due to UK WEEE Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs) collectively missing the overall 2017 targets by more than 15%, this has now been confirmed.

The UK has an overall 2018 WEEE collection target of 537,065 tonnes (which is slightly higher than the originally proposed 532,818 tonnes, and which is 14,161 tonnes higher than the total amount of household WEEE collected by WEEE PCSs last year).

The 537,065 tonnes target for 2018 is approximately 85,000 tonnes lower than the 2017 target of 622,033 and sees large falls in the UK’s targets for Large Domestic Appliances (LDA) [2018 = 190,171 tonnes vs 2017 = 232,811 tonnes] and Display Equipment [2018 = 50,350 tonnes vs 2017 = 71,267 tonnes] and significant falls in the UK’s targets for Cooling/Refrigeration Equipment [2018 = 138,891 tonnes vs 2017 = 148,017 tonnes] and for Gas Discharge Lamps and LEDs [2018 = 5,517 tonnes vs 2017 = 6,132 tonnes]. There is also a reduction in the targets for every single WEEE stream covered by “Small WEEE”.

WEEE collected by PCSs and AATFs reported to the Agencies is used as the primary source data, with additional factors also considered being the impact of a change of definition of household WEEE since 2014 (called “dual use”). This enables collections of business WEEE to count towards the DEFRA household WEEE targets, if items “are similar to that which are sold to householders”. This “dual use” equipment includes lighting and lamps, ICT equipment and fridges.

The change has made an alteration in the methodology used for some targets, including a three year trend for lamps and LED sources instead of the traditional five. The overall target for 2018 is below the collection levels necessary for the UK to achieve its EU Member State target of 768,211 tonnes for 2018 and the lowering of targets was opposed by WeeeCare, as it has a direct impact on the (decreasing) levels of WEEE recycling.

The gap between the Member State target and collection data submitted under the WEEE Regulations is planned to be met via other sources of WEEE, including non-household collections and “substantiated estimates” of WEEE arising and treated from other sources; notably LDA that appears in the light iron waste stream.