Exploring the Fate of Electricals and E-waste

We conducted this study in partnership with Anthesis, who are leading the project, as well as the University of Lancaster and REPIC

computer parts for electronic recycling

This study looked at the fate and destination of electricals and electronics to support strategies on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collection and reporting.

The problem

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

This is because unreported activity is difficult to characterise, engage with and quantify. It includes:

  • second-hand sales
  • reuse and repair
  • undocumented storage and export
  • illegal disposal and incorrect administration

A number of studies have been conducted into unreported reuse, collection, storage, treatment and disposal of WEEE. However, these are relatively high level and focus on specific streams.

The solution

Using the WEEE Fund (money from the 2017 WEEE Compliance Fee), we are looking to produce a robust and consolidated view of unreported activity. This will be used to guide policy makers and strategies on WEEE collection and to allow for more formal reporting.

The project is comprised of the following three phases:

  • Review of existing information, calculating potential WEEE generated for major product types and prioritise areas for further research
  • Gather further data on activity identified in phase 1 via desk top research and analysis, stakeholder engagement and primary data collection
  • 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

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.

Dr Richard Peagam, Associate Director, Anthesis