Digital switchover: WEEE recycling rate unaffected


June 2012

In April 2012, analogue television was switched to digital in London and others parts of the UK. However, according to Environment Agency data, this seems to have had little effect on WEEE collection rates in the first quarter of 2012.

One explanation could be that because the switchover in London took place in mid-April, many of the television sets discarded because of the switchover may appear in the second quarter.

The data indicates that 47.5% of household WEEE equal to of the new electronic equipment placed onto the UK market in the first quarter of 2012 was recycled. In the same period in 2011, 48.7% of domestic WEEE was collected.

Just over 35,000 tonnes of display equipment was collected the first quarter of 2012 compared to over 37,000 tonnes for the same period in 2011. This unexpected decrease in collection of display equipment for treatment comes despite predictions that WEEE reprocessors would be struck by a ‘tv avalanche’ following the digital switchover.

The data shows that both the total amount of WEEE collected and the amount of EEE put onto the market has fallen in comparison to previous quarters. This decrease is thought to have been caused partly by a fall in consumption as a result of difficult financial environment, in addition to lighter models replacing older product.