Collections of waste electrical and electronic equipment from civic amenity sites and other sources fell in the first quarter of 2017 in comparison to the same period last year and in 2015.
This comes in the face of higher collection targets for 2017 although traditionally more collections occur in the next two quarters of the year.
Figures released by the Environment Agency show the volume of materials handled, ranging from fridges and small appliances through to solar panels, stood at 133,409 tonnes of household WEEE collected in the UK by producer compliance schemes and their members compared to just under 150,000 tonnes last year.
The first quarter of 2016 appears to have been a peak period in terms of collections with the decline this year marked in terms of lower tonnage collections of display equipment, down by about 25% from 19,830 tonnes in 2016 to 14,584 tonnes in 2017, as well as a near 10% fall in large household appliances (down 4,500 tonnes).
Lightweighting of television and computer screens is seen as one factor in the fall in weight of the display equipment collected.
The data is subject to revision and some discrepancies have been identified. And, the Agency has revealed that it is investigating the data reported for category 13, “Gas discharge lamps and LED light sources.”
The Agency has not said what it is looking at in this niche category. However, category 13 showed only four tonnes collected in separate figures for non-household WEEE compared to 1,419 tonnes as household WEEE.
In terms of volumes of household electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the market by members of producer compliance schemes, in the first quarter of 2017 the figure was reported at 314,007 tonnes (337,546 tonnes in q1 2016). Apart from cooling appliances, most EEE saw a fall.
Compliance scheme Clarity’s WEEE Project Manager, Vikkie Fitzgerald, said she had compared the figures to the same period in 2016 and noted that “there is a decrease in collection numbers for every category of WEEE, when compared to Q1 2016. This will give little comfort to those stakeholders who have concerns that the target for Producer Compliance Scheme collections in 2017 (just over 622,000 tonnes) is a challenging one.”
Ms Fitzgerald continued: “It is of course only one fourth of the picture, with collections traditionally increasing in quarters three and four of the compliance year. We will expect to see the April – June data in late August, and this will be closely reviewed again.”