A total of 134,610 tonnes of household WEEE was collected by producer compliance schemes (PCS) in Q1, marginally ahead of the pro-rata quarterly target of 124,347 tonnes required to reach the annual target of 497,388 tonnes.
According to figures published by the Environment Agency, a total of 4,188 tonnes of batteries were collected in the UK in the first quarter of 2020 (between January and March). This is against an indicative target of 16,090 tonnes for 2020, meaning the first quarter recycling figures stand at around 26% of this.
The published data only covers up to the end of March, meaning the figures only cover one week of the Covid-19 lockdown measures, which caused significant disruption to both WEEE and battery collections.
Louise Grantham, chief executive, REPIC, comments:
“The last week of the quarter was affected by the Covid-19 lockdown which resulted in the temporary closure of many WEEE and battery collection sites and activities.
It is therefore encouraging that total collections in the quarter were slightly ahead of the 2020 target. The WEEE data also reports an increase in collections when compared to the same quarter in 2019, however this seems largely reflective of the implementation of the revised small mixed WEEE and LHA protocols.
Total EEE placed on the market has decreased slightly in the period, with small increases in the Large Household Appliance, Display and Cooling categories being offset by reductions in most of the Small Mixed WEEE categories.
However, we are facing an uncertain outlook as the sector works together to manage the operational changes necessitated by Covid-19. Whilst many WEEE and battery collection activities have restarted, the nature of the changes required means achievement of the 2020 target currently seems unlikely.
We are fortunate that the UK WEEE regime provides the option of a compliance fee as a way for PCSs to comply in the event there is insufficient WEEE available for collection. The year will be financially challenging for all organisations and we welcome Defra’s commitment that it will “absolutely take account of the actual impacts that Covid-19 has had on collections during the year” when setting a compliance fee methodology.”
Due to the uncertainty around the potential impact of Covid-19 Defra has based the annual WEEE target for 2020 broadly on actual collections reported for 2019.