10 years of the WEEE Directive in the UK
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the WEEE Directive being introduced in the UK, and to mark the occasion The European Recycling Platform has published a report on how the regulations have impacted the country.
The WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive sets out processes for dealing with the disposal of such equipment, including collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods, with the aim of reducing the amount of these goods ending up in landfill.
ERP UK started operating when the WEEE Directive was put in place in the UK, and is a producer compliance scheme which offers solutions to make recycling and compliance easier.
The report examines the impact the directive has had on producers, consumers, retailers, local authorities and waste treatment operators, and what has been achieved over the course of the decade. It also looks at what the ERP itself has achieved, such as successfully lobbying for changes to UK WEEE regulations to address issues of unfairness in the UK system.
Digitisation is also discussed in the report, from the progression of mobile phone and television technology to the internet revolution. These changes have presented challenges to recycling procedures, with ERP UK General Manager John Redmayne explaining: ‘the move from CRT TVs to flat screens drove change throughout the system. We had to change how waste was collected, stored, and sorted at local authority level, and in the decommissioning and separation of elements carried out by our partners further along the chain.’
Consumer trends are analysed in the report, and future challenges are highlighted, such as how modern homeowners are accumulating more electronic and electrical equipment, but in far smaller forms than, for example, the large CRT TVs of yesteryear. Solutions are suggested to these issues and ERP outline their own plans to deal with the upcoming challenges faced in the field.
At Harrow Green we are very mindful of our obligations regarding current legislation, across all countries in which we operate. We operate a 0% landfill policy, ensuring that all the components of the electronic devices we dispose of are directed towards the right channels, from plastics to glass to circuit boards.
Reports such as these help remind us of the significant environmental benefits enjoyed thanks to the directive, and given the ERP’s assertion that ‘UK producers have set an example in sustainability over the last decade’, we feel proud to have been and remain a contributor to this high standard.
Follow this link to read the full report on the ERP website.