DEFRA release the proposed 2021 household WEEE collections targets

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has released the proposed household WEEE collection targets for 2021. Collections data from 2020 will not be used in the target setting process for 2021 due to the collection of WEEE being severely limited by travel and restrictions on Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) as a result of COVID-19

Every year in March, DEFRA invites views from the industry in regards to the household WEEE collection targets ahead of finalising them by 31 March. Any comments need to be provided to DEFRA by 15 March 2021 and can be done via Comply Direct (via phone on 01756 794 951 or email by 5pm on 14 March 2020) or direct to DEFRA

These targets determine the quantity of WEEE a household WEEE producer must fund, based on their market share.

The proposed UK household WEEE collection target for 2021 is 507,334 tonnes. This is 4,797 tonnes more than the total amount of household WEEE collected and reported to the environment agencies in 2019. The proposed target for 2021 is 9,996 tonnes more than the 2020 target. The table below shows how this overall target has been allocated across the 14 categories of EEE. Producer Compliance Schemes will not be required to achieve individual collection targets for categories 2-10 provided they have achieved the aggregate of those targets overall.

Table 1 above shows trend data and proposed household collection targets for each category versus the 2019 and 2020 targets.

In 2019, the Environment Agency published revised protocols for reporting of Large Household Appliances (LHA) and Small Mixed WEEE (SMW) to be used from January 2020. In order to maintain consistency between trend data and establishing draft targets for 2020, the new protocol for these categories has been applied to the historical data. The following analysis is based on the application of the 2020 protocols to the historical data across all 14 categories of WEEE.

As explained above, since last year was such an extraordinary year for WEEE collections, 2020 data has not been included in the analysis of historical trends for the calculation of the 2021 target. The starting point for setting targets has therefore been to undertake a five-year (2015-2019) trend forecast to identify the total tonnage for collection of each individual category of WEEE. Using this trend data mitigates the effect of outliers in the data, with the subsequent figure reflective of the general trend in collection volumes over the last five years. This forecast suggests a household WEEE collection target of 508,534 tonnes in 2021.

The typical methodology would see an uplift applied to this trendline prediction, to match the ambition of increasing WEEE collections. However, informal feedback from industry suggests that Q1 2021 collections are significantly lower than Q1 averages, so an uplift has not been applied to the 2021 draft collection targets. On the other hand, economic forecasts by the Bank of England along with the recent announcements by the UK government and those in the devolved nations for relieving COVID-19 restrictions, lead us to believe that collections will be able to return to more normal levels early in Q2 and for the rest of 2021.

Using the five-year forecast in each category of WEEE, manual adjustments have been made to categories 13 and 14 where the previous growth trend was judged not to be reflective of current market dynamics.

Following manual adjustments made to these categories, we arrive at an overall household collection target of 507,334 tonnes. This represents only a small increase compared to 2019 collections reflecting the significant drop of collections anticipated in Q1 as a result of the continued Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across the nations of the UK.

If you have any questions about the 2021 proposed targets and/or would like to share your views with us for providing to DEFRA as part of our scheme responses, please contact us on and we will be happy to help.