UK has produced 165k tonnes of e-waste in 1H 2019, reveals analysis of WEEE data – more per person than EU average

18 November 2019

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According to analysis of government WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) data by custom phone case producer, Case24.com, UK consumers have dumped more than 165,000 tonnes of household e-waste so far in 2019 – nearly 10kg more per person than the EU average.

Electronic waste – or ‘e-waste’ – refers to all products or items of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), and subsequent parts, that are discarded without the intent of reuse.

The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) claims that the UK produces nearly 10kg more e-waste per person than the EU average, highlighting a growing concern.

To delve deeper into the topic of e-waste collected in the UK, custom phone case producer, Case24.com analysed 2019 data released by Gov.uk concerning Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which outlines the amount of household waste collected in the UK.

The data analysed covers the period January to June 2019, and compares statistics against the same period of 2018 to determine any significant increases or decreases per household category.

The results:

Cooling Appliances Containing Refrigerants (fridges and freezers, for example) accounted for the highest amount of e-waste generated in the UK so far in 2019 – with an astounding 43,938 tonnes collected (27% of the total amount of household e-waste). This household category also saw a +3.7% increase compared to the same period in 2018, one of only three categories to increase year-on-year.

The next most prevalent household category was Large Household Appliances (such as washing machines), with 43,833 tonnes collected (26% of the total) in the first half of the year – the largest year-on-year absolute and percentage increase, at +5.1%.

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Between them, these two 'white goods' categories account for a little over half (53%) of all household e-waste in the 2019 dataset, as well as the bulk of any year-on-year increase in the data.

The third largest category identified was Display Equipment, with 19,141 tonnes collected (12% of the total) – although positively, this category had the third most significant percentage decrease year-on-year, at -10.5% (and by far, the largest decrease in absolute terms).

In contrast, Monitoring and Control Instruments was the household category with the lowest level of collected items at only 14 tonnes – as well as the highest year-on-year decline, at -21.5%.

Other notable categories include: Small Household Appliances (16,683 tonnes, 10% of the total, marginally up at +0.8%); IT and Telcomms Equipment (16,376 tonnes, 10% of the total, -2.9% year-on-year decrease); Consumer Equipment (15,665 tonnes, 9% of the total, -2.3% year-on-year decrease); Electrical and Electronic Tools (8596 tonnes, 5% of the total, -2.1% year-on-year decrease); and Toys, Leisure and Sports (1,030 tonnes, less than 1% of the total, -1.5% year-on-year decrease).

So far in 2019, a grand total of 165,772 tonnes of household e-waste has been tossed away (marginally up on the 2018 number, at 165,312 tonnes).


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