How the world has changed over a decade of WEEE regulations

29th September 2017 | Recycling

The extent of the incredible change in technology and how it is recycled in the 10 years since UK waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) regulations were introduced, has been detailed by producer responsibility organisation the European Recycling Platform (ERP).

ERP UK, which started operating when the UK WEEE Directive was introduced in 2007, this week published the “10 years of WEEE in the UK” report, which reflects on the impact the regulations have had on producers, consumers, retailers, local authorities and waste treatment operators: and assesses the achievements to date and the key challenges and developments ahead.

In those ten years, regulations have developed and the technology being created and used has changed completely in both scale and design. As well as the UK WEEE Directive, 2007 also saw the launch of the first iPhone – a landmark that began a decade of unprecedented change in small devices.

Technology revolution

Since the launch of the first iPhone that same summer, phones have gotten smaller, and then bigger: CDs and DVDs have been replaced by digital downloads and, pivotally, televisions have been slimmed down as plasma gave ways to LCD and LED technology and cathode ray tube (CRT) sets were phased out.

John Redmayne, ERP UK General Manager explains, “The move from CRT TVs to flat screens drove change throughout the system. We had to change how waste was collected, stored, and sorted at local authority level, and in the decommissioning and separation of elements carried out by our partners further along the chain.” The switch from CRT TVs, ERP says, resulted in increased recycling at both retail trade-ins and local authority recycling centres.”

According to the report, 95 per cent of UK households own a mobile phone now, compared to 78 per cent in 2007, and 47 per cent in 2000. It states, “If we assume two phones per household are changed every two years, it adds up to an eye-watering 247 million phones in the last 10 years.”  And that is why WEEE is so important.

More information available on the website below