WEEE collection guide

22nd February 2018

The focus of this guide is on the collection of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) from households through designated collection facilities (DCFs). It brings together existing information and explains the roles of different parties, particularly operators of approved DCFs, approved Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs) and Local Authorities (LAs).

Purpose of the guidance:
The guides build on statutory guidance from central Government and assumes compliance with the WEEE Regulations.
It identifies good practice choices, allowing adoption of most suitable WEEE collection methods.

Introduction 

The focus of this guide is on the collection of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) from households through designated collection facilities (DCFs) (i.e. Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) or Civic Amenity (CA) sites), kerbside, and bulky waste collections, and retailer take-back). It brings together existing information and explains the roles of different parties, particularly operators of approved DCFs, approved Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs) and Local Authorities (LAs). It also allows the reader to focus on the subjects of interest.

The guide:

  • builds on statutory guidance from central Government and assumes compliance with the WEEE Regulations; and 
  • It identifies good practice choices, allowing adoption of most suitable WEEE collection methods.

 The guidance does not:

  • duplicate or replace the Code of Practice for the collection and treatment of WEEE and any relevant statutory guidance; 
  • replace local knowledge; or
  • apply in all situations.

The different sections of the guidance are detailed below with links to the relevat section. 

Set up 

This section details the organisational set up for those involved in WEEE collection activities including: 

  • Contracts and partnership agreements;
  • promoting re-use in collection;  
  • ensuring quality of items for re-use through communications; 
  • raising public awareness of re-use; and 
  • retailer in-store communication for signage and public communications.

Raising public awareness of re-use

Greater public awareness of re-use and recycling is achieved through good practice measures, such as provision of marketing materials, developing public engagement and using front line staff to deliver the message. Increasing visibility of WEEE re-use and recycling activity through promotional campaigns works well. Retailers can also make use of the WRAP¹s WEEE toolkit to strengthen their message. 

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Collections and household waste   

This section is primarily of interest to waste disposal authorities and their contractors. The benefit of implementing the guidance is to segregate a greater tonnage of WEEE at HWRCs for re-use and recycling, whilst taking account of the constraints of the site and other responsibilities of site staff. This section focuses on how to increase the capture of WEEE at Designated Collection Facilities (DCF), primarily Household Waste Recycling Centres and covers advice on:

  • Re-use at HWRC.
  • Managing contamination.
  • Identifying re-usable WEEE. 
The quantity of WEEE generated in 2015 is estimated to be 1,528kt, made up of:
  • 679kt of reported WEEE (44%). This is documented and controlled within the regulatory system.
  • 475kt of unreported WEEE (31%). This material is outside the regulatory system and not as closely controlled or monitored as above.
  • 366kt of WEEE lost from the system through the residual waste stream or components taken from cooling equipment (24%). This material is unlikely to be treated to correct standards.

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Kerbside collections 

The primary audience for this section is waste collection authorities (and their contractors) however, third sector organisations and producer compliance schemes may also find it useful. This section provides best practise guidance on how to maximise the WEEE that is segregated for re-use and recycling through kerbside and bulky waste collections of small mixed WEEE (SMW). 

Case study: Westminster City Council

All waste electrical and electronic equipment is collected separately from general rubbish. Small domestic appliances are collected from the small appliances recycling bins and are taken to Sweeep Kuusakoski, Sittingbourne, Kent. Westminster City Council provides information on acceptable items and where the e-waste bins can be located. Larger electrical appliances can be collected by the bulky waste service for a fee. 

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Retail take-back

This section of the guidance is of most interest to retailers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and details consumer communication information obligations. Advice is provided to ensure retailers of EEE are informed about how to meet their WEEE Regulation obligations in addition to the Distributer Take-back Scheme (DTS) service.

Case study: Argos incentivised gadget trade-in scheme. 

Customers take their old devices to the till where a Customer Advisor will check the re-useable value. If the customer is happy with this value the transaction will go ahead. The customer receives an Argos gift voucher for the value of their recycled gadget which they can spend on anything in the catalogue. The gadgets are also checked against a lost and stolen database. The Customer Advisor takes the gadget, placing it in a sealed envelope with the relevant paperwork. The customer benefits by being able to recycle their gadget so that it can potentially be re-used, and by realising the value of their old gadget. 

Partnership with a service provider - This secure package is then sent to an IT Asset Management (ITAM) company where the data is wiped. The gadget is then assessed to see if it can be refurbished so that it can be re-used. If it cannot be refurbished or repaired then it is broken down so that the parts can be recycled. The refurbished gadgets are resold by the ITAM in the UK and throughout Europe.

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End user business

This section provides guidance to those responsible for WEEE as an end-user business. This type of WEEE is known as non-household or commercial WEEE and often cannot be collected through household waste collections at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC). Guidance is provided to ensure this WEEE is managed in an environmentally sound manner, taking account of data security issues and waste legislation and details how to arrange a WEEE collection and how to responsibly manage data on data-baring equipment in line with The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). 

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