AATF Forum responds to Defra’s low-ambition WEEE targets

AATF Forum responds to Defra’s low-ambition WEEE targets

12 April 2018

AATF Forum Press release – 09 March 2018

The AATF Forum represents the interests of the WEEE AATF sector and currently has 18 members representing over 80% of WEEE treatment. It’s membership is open to any AATF operator with meetings held every two months that have been recently attended by the environmental agencies, Defra, the WEEE Scheme Forum and BMRA.

The aims of the Forum are to create a sustainable WEEE processing industry by better understanding the impact of UK WEEE on the global environment and ensuring its members always follow best practice and circular economy ethos in the recycling and the reuse of WEEE. 

It has been working on a number of issues that affect the effective working of the WEEE regulations and the ability for the UK to meet future targets for treatment and recycling and has formulated a response to Defra’s proposed 2018 collection targets.

In summary, the Forum believes that by simply tracking the previous year’s collection performance, Defra is failing to meet both the spirit and the environmental requirements of the WEEE Directive, namely ‘The purpose of this Directive is to contribute to sustainable production and consumption… by the re-use, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste and to contribute to the efficient use of resources and the retrieval of valuable secondary raw materials.’  The proposed targets lack ambition and make assumptions that the WEEE is simply not available. The Forum asserts that there is significant leakage in the system and the lack of incentive to collect WEEE provided by the Compliance Fee has led to potentially obligated WEEE being processed through informal – and often environmentally damaging – disposal routes such as illegal exports and non-accredited ATFs. Without a robust system of WEEE management, the UK’s treatment infrastructure is at risk of lacking the investment needed for sustainable growth to ensure that high environmental standards are properly applied and maintained.

The Forum further believes that the reliance on ‘substantiated estimates’ by Defra undermines the UK’s aspiration to be an environmental leader as it effectively supports a substandard treatment regime.

The Forum has put forward proposals to Defra to add ambition back into the targets to maintain achievable growth. It recognises the challenges caused by reduced new product sales, but there is still a huge gap of 772,000 tonnes between WEEE and EEE placed onto the market that is not explained.

The Forum is also urging Defra to maximise the use of the Compliance Fee revenue raised from the 99,000 tonne shortfall on the 2017 targets to focus on identifying why so much WEEE is not being captured and to educate both householders and businesses on the need for correct WEEE disposal through a properly funded media campaign. 


Current AATF Forum Members

AO, Balcan Engineering, Eco Technology, Electrical Waste, EMR, Environcom, GAP Waste, Light Brothers, London Mining, Mercury Recycling, Recycling Lives, S Norton, Sims, SWEEEP, Veolia, Viridor, Wastecare and Wiser.

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