New Project To Explore Fate Of Electricals And E-Waste

A new study has been announced that will look the fate and destination of electricals and electronics to support strategies on WEEE collection and reporting.

The study will be conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Lancaster, compliance schemes REPIC and Valpak and being led by the sustainability consultancy Anthesis.

Since the 2013 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force there has been a reporting gap between the weight of sales of electrical and electronics equipment (EEE) and WEEE collections and treatment. 

There have been a number of studies into unreported reuse, collection, storage and treatment and disposal of WEEE at a relatively high level and focused on specific streams.

“The WEEE Fund, using money from the 2017 WEEE Compliance Fee, presents an opportunity to produce a robust and consolidated view of unreported activity to guide policy makers and strategies on WEEE collection and to allow for more formal reporting.”

This is because, given their very nature, unreported activity is challenging to characterise, engage with and quantify. Unreported activity includes second-hand sales, reuse and repair, undocumented storage and export, illegal disposal and incorrect administration.

Scott Butler, WEEE Fund Manager, said: “When we consulted with businesses working in this area this was a topic that was raised time and time again: what is happening to this equipment and why isn’t it available for recycling in the quantities we expect?

“The WEEE Fund, using money from the 2017 WEEE Compliance Fee, presents an opportunity to produce a robust and consolidated view of unreported activity to guide policy makers and strategies on WEEE collection and to allow for more formal reporting.”

The project is comprised of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Review of existing information, calculating potential WEEE generated for major product types and prioritise areas for further research. 
  • Phase 2: Gather further data on activity identified in phase 1 via desk top research and analysis, stakeholder engagement and primary data collection.
  • Phase 3: Analysis and synthesis of data and substantiated estimates. It is expected to conclude by the end of 2019. It is estimated to cost £208,044.

Dr Richard Peagam, Associate Director, Anthesis, said: “With such a strong team of partners, this project will significantly enhance the UK’s strategy for collecting and recycling WEEE over the coming years. We are keen to bring in a wide range of stakeholders, to tackle common challenges and inform future sustainability improvements.

“We’re looking forward to hearing a range of views throughout the project, so that together we can deliver outputs that we own collectively as a sector.”

The project is being financed via the WEEE Fund generated from the WEEE Compliance Fee in 2017.


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