The impact of lockdown on the WEEE sector

The WEEE sector is expecting the ongoing lockdown restrictions to have a significant impact on quarter two data, for both Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) collections and Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) placed on market data.

Looking back to Q1 2020, EEE and WEEE data should be largely unscathed by the impact of Covid-19, however the same cannot be said of Q2 at this half-way point in the quarter. Collections of WEEE ground to a halt in late March/early April, but it is encouraging to see signs that reduced services are already resuming for many parts of the country.

As an industry, we will all feel the effects of the shutdown, but we will continue our efforts to work collaboratively as we have proven to do so effectively in the past. Clarity is an active member of the WEEE Schemes Forum (WSF), and we were pleased to be able to support the UK’s treatment facilities very early on in the lockdown. The WSF, along with support from the WEEE Fund, Defra, ICER, the AATF Forum and others very quickly expedited a package of financial measures for those treating WEEE, as well as the reuse sector, totalling £5.6 million. This money came from previous payments into the compliance fee fund.

The future challenge for compliance schemes will be navigating any use of the annual compliance fee mechanism, as it is highly likely that the UK will miss its overall target for 2020. The mechanism will ensure that all producers in the UK will be able to comply with the regulations, and it is heartening that Defra have already noted the impact of Covid-19 will be taken into account when reviewing methodologies submitted. However, the compliance fee is viewed as a last resort and all efforts continue to be made by Clarity to work with our collectors and recyclers of WEEE in order to ensure compliance via physical recycling of WEEE arising.

All our scheme members are encouraged to get in touch with us if they need information on any aspect of their own compliance or have any questions about the wider impact of Covid-19. We have already implemented a range of measures to support our producers, and we welcome any feedback or further suggestions to expand our assistance.

We are by no means out of the woods with this global pandemic, and should a second wave of infections occur in the UK, I know we will once again rise to the challenge of containment and do the right thing for the safety and health of all in the waste and recycling sector. Ultimately this is the most important part we have to play. I would like to personally wish you all well in these challenging times, and I will continue to update you via future issues of Clearview, and on my LinkedIn channel.


Vikkie Fitzgerald.

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