Two projects are to investigate what happens to waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) that is not recycled through existing schemes.
Consultancy Anthesis is to find out what happens to the estimated 139,000 tonnes of unreported EEE that is not treated through the official producer-financed WEEE regulatory system.
360 Environmental and the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac) will look at the unauthorised removal of WEEE from council recycling centres, which WRAP estimates to total nearly 100,000 tonnes a year.
Although much of this activity is expected to be legitimate, the research will look at those handling these materials and explore how it is ultimately treated.
The two projects, due this summer, are being paid for by the 2015 WEEE compliance fee fund. In 2015, £46,000 was available to support research projects.
Both projects will build on WRAP’s findings from the EEE Flows study, which provides the latest estimate of the volumes of products being placed on the market and the associated waste that is produced.
Dr Richard Peagam, principal consultant at Anthesis, said: “The role of technology in building a more resilient and sustainable society is crucial, but the increasingly disparate way that we use it takes end-of-life equipment further away from traditional routes for management and accounting.
“This research will help to understand further how the electrical equipment that we don’t know about is handled and treated once it has been used, to inform the conversation on how to manage the proliferation and migration of technology into our daily lives and industry, responsibly.”