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WEEE collections fall short of the target as COVID-19 impacts

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It has been an exceptional year and despite best efforts it is no surprise that the target was not achieved. The various national lockdowns due to Covid-19 had a huge impact on collections of WEEE across the country.

The final data released by the Environment Agency showed an overall WEEE collection rate of 93% against the target for the year, 29.6% of all EEE placed on the market.

Commenting on the data, Louise Grantham, Chief Executive of WEEE compliance scheme, REPIC, said:

“As expected, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on both the purchasing of new appliances and the recycling of WEEE throughout 2020.

“Total household EEE placed on the market has risen by 10% in 2020 when compared to 2019, with the tonnage in all but two categories increasing. This is likely to be reflective of the increase in home working in 2020, and householders generally spending more time at home. Non-household EEE placed on the market however fell by 11%.

“Overall, the tonnage of household WEEE collected in 2020 was 7% lower than in 2019, with collections falling overall except for large household appliances. The proportion of end of life large household appliances collected via retail takeback has increased with 50% of all large household appliances now collected via this route. A similar trend is observable for cooling appliances.

“Unsurprisingly, WEEE collections did not recover sufficiently to address the impact the national lockdown had on WEEE collections in Quarter 2, when many collection points were closed. After recovering in Quarter 3, collections for most categories were again lower in Quarter 4, a period that saw further lockdowns. It is difficult to draw many conclusions from the 2020 data, with the current lockdown continuing to affect collection levels, particularly across the local authority network.”

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