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WOT 1_2 Insights into the flows and fates of e-waste in the UK

Research output: Working paperOther

Publication date4/12/2019
Place of PublicationLancaster
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In 2019 the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive documented a sizable increase in e-waste collection targets alongside widening the scope of electrical and electronic products covered by the legislation. These changes have significant impact for the UK, where e-waste collection has been below the levels necessary to meet the targets. Understanding the flows and fates of products on and off the market becomes of paramount importance, especially for producer-led organisations who have the responsibility to achieve the targets and cover the operational costs. Historic e-waste estimation methods often assume that one product on the market will equate to one product in the waste stream. In this article, we introduce our research commissioned by one of the largest UK producer-led organisations, REPIC Ltd, to explain the gap in products on the market and WEEE collected, and the relationship between the two. We argue that we should move away from the “one-in-one-out” estimation to include a wider set of parameters that are tailored specifically for the UK, including those linked with the state of the market for electronic and electrical products and a broader range of socioeconomic indicators. We show how this can be achieved by adapting a state-of-the-art e-waste estimation model, Waste Over Time, to the UK context and developing it further to include additional drivers.