Last year, the UK recycled 650,000 tonnes of electrical waste but with 1.6 million tonnes of electrical and electronic products going onto the market, there is still work to be done.
The WEEE Forum’s International E-Waste Day (13th October) marked a global effort to tackle the e-waste problem. As trusted e-waste recycling partners for UK businesses, Electrical Waste Recycling Group (EWRG) are supporting contractors here in the UK to achieve WEEE Directive compliance and help create a cleaner, more sustainable future.
Here, we speak to Pascal Leroy, Secretary General of WEEE Forum and Mark Burrows-Smith, Chief Executive Officer of REPIC Ltd on the success of the day and what challenges still need to be overcome.
The success of International E-Waste Day
Celebrated by 30 countries worldwide, the day was the first of its kind to coordinate events and activities across the globe, highlighting the growing importance of correct e-waste disposal methods.
Hailed as a “tremendous success”, Pascal explains; “In Europe, we have over 15 years’ experience of putting in place e-waste laws and management policies, but what we saw this year was a lot of interest from outside Europe. Countries such as India, Brazil, Colombia and Australia, for example, were very keen on raising more awareness. The day was especially popular in the countries where they had recently adopted e-waste legislation.”
Activities that took place across the globe included mobile phone recycling collections, corporate conferences, educational campaigns in schools and consumer communications.
The future of WEEE recycling in the UK
According to Mark, one of the biggest challenges the UK now faces in its WEEE strategy is setting more realistic recycling targets. The difficulty lies in predicting future purchasing habits and estimating the e-waste that will be generated from it.
With recommendations for a more “accurate and reliable model for WEEE forecasting” *, Mark explains; “In the UK, there’s a fractured WEEE dataset, and it’s difficult to determine how electrical goods are being disposed of. Some routes are perfectly legal and traceable, while other routes sadly involve illegal activity.”
To address this issue, REPIC recently commissioned the Pentland Centre of Sustainability in Business at Lancaster University to independently investigate and report on existing econometric models for post-consumer e-waste forecasting. The aim was to better quantify the amount of WEEE which arises each year and the different fates. The research and recommendations to improve data are set out in a new white paper available to download at http://www.dynamicweeemodel.co.uk/
The next steps
For contractors, valuing the importance of WEEE and working with partners like EWRG to seamlessly implement a comprehensive recycling service is essential to help meet their legal responsibilities under the WEEE Directive – and make illegal WEEE disposal a thing of the past.
With 60 per cent of the UK’s electrical waste not reported through authorised treatment facilities, the need for accurate, traceable and convenient recycling routes has never been more important.
Working with electrical wholesaler CEF, EWRG’s programme guarantees legal consignment of WEEE, as well as offering in-house recycling facilities and a nationwide collection service. instilling in businesses and tradespeople alike the confidence to combat the e-waste challenges ahead.
To find out more about getting involved, visit www.electricalwaste.com or call 01388 721 000. Discover more about the success of International E-Waste Day at www.weee-forum.org/international-e-waste-day-0 .