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New project to explore fate of electricals and e-waste

2019 project will be the biggest UK study to date on the fate and destination of electricals and electronics to support strategies on WEEE collection and reporting. 

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. 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 being delivered by a team of researchers from the University of Lancaster, compliance schemes REPIC and Valpak and being led by the sustainability consultancy Anthesis.  

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. More information on the WEEE Compliance Fee Fund 2017 is available at 

Notes to Editors 

Media Contacts: Harri Turnbull –  0207 331 2011 

The WEEE Compliance Fee Fund 2017 

  • Just under £8 million is being made available to support environmental projects from money that was collected through the 2017 WEEE Compliance Fee mechanism. The fund is expected to be spent over the next three years on a range of activities, including technical research, communications, behaviour change activities and local projects.  
  • The compliance fee is a regulatory tool open to the Government to support the delivery of the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations. If a Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS) misses their target, they have an option to pay a compliance fee for the tonnage shortfall.   
  • The law requires that the compliance fee is set at a level that encourages compliance through collection. The fee therefore complements national targets by creating an additional financial incentive to collect WEEE, because it must at least reflect the true cost of recycling WEEE. 
  • Each year, bodies are invited to submit proposals to run the Compliance Fee in any given year. For the 2017 compliance period, the JTA – a group of trade associations representing producers of electrical and electronic equipment – methodology was selected by the Secretary of State. The Compliance Fee is administered by Mazars LLP on behalf of JTAC, the registered company established by the JTA with the sole purpose of entering into contracts with third parties for services relating to the WEEE Compliance Fee. The current chair of the JTA is Susanne Baker from techUK. 

About techUK 

techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow. Over 900 companies are members of techUK, collectively they employ more than 700,000 people. These companies range from leading FTSE 100 companies to new innovative start-ups. The majority of our members are small and medium sized businesses. 

techUK is committed to helping its members grow, by: 

  • Developing markets 
  • Developing relationships and networks 
  • Reducing business costs 
  • Reducing business risks.


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