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WEEE collection expected to fall short of annual target

The latest figures for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected in the UK this year has reinforced industry concern that the 2017 target was over-optimistic.

Figures released by the Environment Agency for Q3 show that 133,811 tonnes was collected from households compared with 148,367 tonnes in the same period in 2016.

The current total for the year stands at 404,053 tonnes of household WEEE collected and reported by producer compliance schemes (PCS).

This is proportionately well below the 2017 target of 622,033 tonnes, an aspiration of 40,000 tonnes higher than that collected and reported by PCS throughout 2016.

Mark Burrows-Smith, chief executive of Repic, the UK’s largest WEEE PCS, said it was unlikely the UK would reach the targets set, despite schemes collecting all available WEEE.

“The industry is experiencing a period where less WEEE is entering the system, due in part to the flat, and in some categories, falling sales of electrical and electronic equipment which has a direct impact on consumer recycling behaviour.

“At the same time, we have a mix of commodity price effects, with higher scrap prices resulting in fewer large household appliances making their way into the system and lower plastic prices impacting other waste goods.”

Burrows-Smith said that target-setting was difficult in times of economic change, and the situation reinforced Repic’s research project with Lancaster University to examine how future forecasting could be refined.

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