Marking the submission of its declaration of compliance for the 2009 compliance period, REPIC, the UK’s largest WEEE producer compliance scheme (PCS), is celebrating two major industry milestones: REPIC has funded the collection, treatment and recycling of over half a million tonnes of WEEE and the UK has passed the one million tonne mark since collections began under the UK Regulations in mid 2007.
Recently released Environment Agency figures show that the UK has recycled 1.1 million tonnes of WEEE in the two and a half years since the introduction of the UK WEEE Regulations. In real terms, this means that an amount of WEEE roughly equivalent to 10 million large appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, cookers and tumble driers, plus 7.5 million fridges and freezers and over 10 million TV sets and computer monitors, has been diverted from landfill by being usefully recycled. So too has an estimated 50 million smaller appliances and tens of millions of fluorescent and energy saving light bulbs.
Dr Philip Morton, CEO of REPIC, comments: "This is a huge milestone for the industry. It’s representative of the fantastic work that the UK WEEE industry does, and everyone deserves credit. REPIC has already funded the collection, treatment and recycling of well over half a million tonnes of the UK’s collective recycled WEEE, and will reach over three quarters of a million tonnes before the end of this year. We are on target to achieve one million tonnes in our own right by the end of 2011."
Dr Morton explains that this has only been possible due to the tremendous support of REPIC’s members and its other partners: "Our local authority, waste company and retail collection partners have been an invaluable part of this success, and we need more of them. So too have our treatment partners, who continue to provide environmentally sound, high-quality recycling. The public’s involvement continues to grow too; this could not have been achieved if it wasn’t for their active participation."
The collection of consumer WEEE in the UK has gone from a rate of 23 per cent in 2007 to about 38 per cent in 2009. REPIC’s members are keen to collect and treat as much WEEE as possible in the UK, so REPIC advocates partnering directly with the collectors of WEEE to maximise collection.
Dr Morton concludes: "The more WEEE that is collected and treated through a short, clear, auditable and direct route in the UK logically means less WEEE can leak to illegal shipment abroad. A closed-loop audit trail enhances the security of the recycling process for everyone, making it easier to see where WEEE comes from, where it goes to and who pays for its treatment, which benefits our producers and those at each stage of the WEEE collection and treatment process. We would urge every WEEE collector to question and clearly understand the fate of the WEEE that they hand over to their partner PCSs."