Latest WEEE collected data released by the Environment Agency (1 June) illustrates that the UK is largely on track to meet DEFRA set targets (read our story HERE for more details on the 2020 collection targets)
It seems that Q1 (January to March) WEEE collections were largely unaffected by Covid-19, apart from perhaps a lost couple of weeks towards the end of March due to the start of national lockdown. This caused the temporary closure of many WEEE recycling facilities, however, all things considered, it is pleasing to see that the data is generally positive with all categories either near or exceeding the 25% Q1 target.
Specifically, a total of 134,610 tonnes of household WEEE was collected in Q1; the overall annual target being 497,388 tonnes. Compared to Q1 2019, this year has been more successful despite the challenges of COVID-19 towards the end of the quarter; in the same period last year, a lesser amount of 123,489 tonnes was collected.
The graph below shows each WEEE category’s progress by percentage towards its overall annual 2020 target (Small Mixed WEEE (SMW) covers categories 2 – 10).
Category 14 is showing to be at almost 70% of its annual target already which isn’t the norm for this point in the year, however, the data for this category has been validated by the Environment Agency and is broadly due to revised EA approved protocols which authorised treatment facilities can apply to a load of mixed WEEE arriving at their site, now allowing for some category 14 tonnage. The impact of this has evidently been considerable.
In a similar vein to WEEE, Q1 data from the Environment Agency for battery collections (released 27 May) demonstrates the UK is on track to meet the annual targets for portable battery recycling
Against the annual target of 16,090 tonnes, in Q1, 4,188 tonnes of batteries were collected, bringing progress towards the overall target to approximately 26%.
However, again, these figures are from January – March, when the UK wasn’t affected very much by the pandemic, so there are concerns from the industry that the Q2 battery collection rates will be impacted considerably by the lockdown restrictions. It will be interesting to see a more accurate picture of how COVID-19 has affected battery recycling when the next data set for Q2 is released; understandably, the tonnages are expected to be much lower as a result. The same presumption has been expressed by the WEEE sector.
Looking back at 2019, overall, statistics showed that the UK missed its batteries annual collection target by 258 tonnes. This was a decrease on the tonnages achieved in 2018.
When the next data sets are released for both WEEE and batteries collections, we will communicate these on our website; analysis you can always find in the ‘News’ section of our website.
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