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Understanding the WEEE Targets for 2024

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The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has released the 2024 household waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collection targets.

This year, the total is rising, with the target surpassing the 2023 level by 2%, set at 482,336 tonnes.

Last year’s WEEE collection efforts not only met but exceeded the target by 0.2%, with 473,019 tonnes collected, demonstrating a positive trend in the collective efforts towards recycling and responsible disposal of end of life electronic waste.

Setting targets for progress

For 2024, Defra has set ambitious targets for WEEE collections. These targets are designed to promote greater efficiency in waste management and contribute towards a circular economy where resources are utilised more sustainably.

From recent media coverage and industry events, Defra has explained that “there are a number of factors that support a more ambitious target for 2024”. In this, Defra included the Material Focus “Recycle Your Electricals campaign” which is expected to continue to increase consumer awareness of recycling. Further waste electrical Take Back schemes, operated by retailers, are also set to increase in the next 12 months.

Defra’s WEEE collection targets for 2024

Commenting on the newly released targets REPIC’s new Chief Executive, Graeme Milne, commented:

“Setting targets remains challenging due to the intricate relationship between EEE and WEEE, as explored in our Looking Back to Look Forward report. While the 2024 target reflects a 2% increase over 2023 collections, specific categories like Display (7.6%), Small Mixed (4.6%), and PV Panels (9.6%) face larger increases. Compared to the change in collections between 2022 and 2023, some of the category targets appear challenging.

“We acknowledge the potential challenges, especially given economic uncertainties. However, our commitment to achieving a circular economy extends beyond collection targets and requires a focus to maximise the in-use phase of products through reuse and refurbishment where this is economically and environmentally desirable to do so. We are encouraged by the consultation’s exploration of alternative measures of success that may be more appropriate.”

Analysis of the 2023 WEEE collection figures

At the time of release, REPIC’s Chief Executive, Graeme Milne, commented on the figures and provided the following analysis:

Understanding the WEEE Directive

The WEEE Directive, which was first introduced in 2003, aims to minimise the environmental impact of electrical and electronic equipment and encourage its reuse, recycling, and recovery. It requires all member states to ensure that WEEE is properly collected and recycled, reducing the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills or is illegally exported.

The WEEE Directive applies to a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment, including household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment, consumer electronics, lighting equipment, and electrical tools.

Each member state of the EU, at the time, were required to transpose the WEEE Directive into their national laws and establish collection and recycling schemes to meet the set targets for waste management. These targets are periodically reviewed and updated to promote continuous improvement in recycling rates and environmental protection.

Overall, the WEEE Directive plays a crucial role in addressing the challenges posed by electronic waste and promoting a more sustainable approach to the lifecycle management of electrical and electronic products across the UK and Europe.

The Role of REPIC

At REPIC, we are committed to supporting Defra’s targets. As a leading producer compliance scheme, we work closely with stakeholders across the supply chain to facilitate the collection and recycling of WEEE in an environmentally sound manner.

Established in 2004 by a national consortium of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) producers, REPIC provides diverse services to help scheme members meet legal obligations for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), Batteries, and Packaging recycling across the UK and Europe.

REPIC makes the complexities of producer compliance accessible through clear guidance and tailored solutions. Additionally, REPIC offers complementary consultancy support to assist businesses in adapting circular business models and achieving net zero goals.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024, REPIC, with ongoing member support, actively influences policy discussions for effective producer responsibility legislation and remains dedicated to navigating recycling complexities and contributing to a sustainable future in the electrical and electronic equipment sector.

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