2023 Q1 WEEE Collected Data Published
Achievement of UK WEEE Recycling Targets shows promise following release of quarter 1 collection data.
The Environment Agency published the quarterly data earlier this month (1st June), detailing the collection of household WEEE by producer compliance schemes and their members between January and March.
The figures show producer compliance schemes collected 120,405 tonnes of WEEE in the first quarter of the year. Although the tonnage is slightly lower than the volume collected in the same quarter of 2022 (120,437T), the 2023 Q1 volume equates to a higher percentage of 2023’s overall target, with 25.5% of the total annual UK target collected in Q1 2023 vs 23.55% Q1 of 2022.
Within the WEEE categories, the highest volume of WEEE was collected across Categories 2-10 (Small Mixed WEEE), achieving 25% of the annual recycling target. This is a 514T (2%) increase on Q1 2022. The highest percentage vs target of WEEE collected was within Category 14 – PV Panels, which saw 37% of the annual target achieved within just one quarter; 80T of PV WEEE, an increase of 57% on the volume collected in Q1 2022.
Category 1 – Large Domestic Appliances saw the largest tonnage decrease in collections vs Q1 2022 by 1,269T (-3%). However, the 2023 UK recycling target for this category has been set by DEFRA at a slightly lower rate than in 2022; 163,667T compared with 183,867T. It is widely accepted that Category 1 sees the most successful take-back operations across all the WEEE categories and it has been speculated that the cost-of-living crisis has had a significant impact on the amount of Category 1 items being made available for collection in the UK. Firstly, the number of new items purchased by consumers has decreased, which is reflected in Producer placed on market data published by the Environment Agency. This directly reduces the opportunity for take-back of WEEE. Second, consumers are likely to be seeking free (and often non-compliant) methods of collection of their used large domestic appliances as opposed to the chargeable take-back service offered by retailers, further compounding the issue. With this in mind, the target was lowered to more closely reflect the tonnage of Category 1 waste which was made available for collection in 2022. So far there appears to be green shoots of hope that it will be successful in ensuring the Category 1 target can be achieved in 2023, with 27% of the annual target collected in Q1.
Overall, the picture painted by the recent data release shows promise for the compliance year ahead, however, there will still be a lot of work to do if we are to achieve the 2023 target across the WEEE categories, as Q4 collections do tend to fall lower than the quarterly 25% share of the target.
Table 1. outlines the WEEE collection data for Q1 and how these are tracking towards their 2023 targets.
Table 2. 2023 Q1 percentage of WEEE collected in the UK.
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