UK turns in average performance for WEEE recycling

The UK is falling behind five other countries in Europe when it comes to recycling waste electrical and electronic items, according to a survey.

The UK ranks sixth out of 11 countries for WEEE recycling, at 7.5kg per head of population. Norway leads the way with an average of 19kg per head, followed by Denmark, Ireland, Austria and Germany. Lowest performer is Poland at 3.7kg.

The study also found that larger household appliances such as washing machines and freezers are the most frequently recycled items across the UK, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland while IT and telecommunications equipment are the most frequently recycled items in France and Denmark.

The survey conducted by the European Recycling Platform (ERP) also looked at waste battery recycling, which varied per capita between 220g in Austria to 40g in Poland. The average is 109g, which is the equivalent to 6AA batteries recycled per head.

ERP's CEO, Umberto Raiteri, said: "We have found the results of this research interesting and useful. Interesting because it gives us some insight into the different behaviours and attitudes of varying nationalities to recycling, and useful because it helps us in shaping our plans for future success in recycling around Europe."

European citizens discard 6.5 million tonnes of household WEEE each year - its disposal rate is growing three times faster than the average waste stream and is now the fastest growing waste stream in the developed world.

Maxine Perella


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Waste & resource management
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