The department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has released figures regarding the UK’s WEEE disposal waste during 2014, showing that the overall national targets were exceeded, with the total quantity of collected material standing at 491,007 tonnes, just beating the target of 490,000.
UK Beats WEEE Disposal Targets
This has been an accomplishment long in the making, but some in the industry had previously questioned whether they would be achievable. The 2014 figures market a 4% increase on those from 2013, and following this success the country is expected to continue increasing over the coming years.
Despite the overall increase, there remained a reduction in the amount of large domestic appliances, with 9,000 tonnes less collected than the 176,018 tonnes target; however the number is still an increase from the 154,667 tonnes collected in 2013.
The figures were boosted by the number of old computer monitors and TV’s which are being discarded for WEEE disposal, as much of the country looks to buy expensive electrical goods as we emerge from the recession.
Business minister Matthew Hancock said: “We have improved the way we regulate the recycling of WEEE and, as a result, have saved firms almost £20m in one year.”
Phil Morton, chief executive of REPIC, the biggest WEEE compliance scheme in the UK, called the figures “great news for everyone” and welcomed greater transparency.
“Individual stream targets can only ever be best estimates, the important thing is that all WEEE in all categories that arose across the UK, and was made available, was dealt with. The overall UK target has been exceeded and the new regulations mean any collector of WEEE can have their WEEE dealt with at no cost.”
For 2015 the department intends to use a target system based on the average growth or decline in tonnage of WEEE collected since 2010 for each category of waste electronics. There will also be other changes including the amount of evidence which will be required for each category. That will mean that schemes all over the UK will be obligated to collect around 508,000 tonnes of WEEE waste in 2015, 18,225 tonnes more than the target set for 2014.
In its documents outlining the proposals, BIS stated: “The proposed target setting methodology sets an overall target of 137,362 tonnes for small mixed WEEE in 2015. This is an uplift of 11,737 tonnes compared with 2014 collections. We believe this would be an extremely challenging target to meet through traditional household WEEE collection routes.
“However, we do not propose to adjust this target given that we anticipate some PCSs may seek to achieve their targets by supplementing their existing arrangements with collections of dual use WEEE from non-household end users in 2015.”
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