The UK Government has announced that the monies accrued from the 2017 Compliance Fee total £8 million. This will be spent over the next three years on projects to enhance the re-use and recycling of electrical and electronic waste. The WEEE Compliance Fee was established as a fall-back option for Producer Compliance Schemes to discharge their obligations when they were unable to collect sufficient WEEE. There are various reasons why the collection targets can be difficult to meet, not least that they are based on a prediction of how much equipment will be sold in the coming year.
The projections for 2017 turned out to be rather over-optimistic. Two key variables were that consumers did not buy as many new products as they were forecast to do, and they returned fewer replaced appliances for WEEE treatment, possibly preferring to keep, sell, or dump them somewhere themselves rather than pay for them to be collected.
Since the sums are larger this year Defra has asked for ideas for technical research projects. They will issue further calls in 2019 and 2020, with a view to investing a total of £1 million in research. A further £4 million will be invested in local projects, and £3 million in communications and behaviour change programmes. More information is available at www.weeefund.uk.