Ten years ago, the UK’s Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) regulations were first introduced.

In those ten years, regulations have developed and the technology being created and used has changed completely.

In the modern day, more than 90 percent of UK households now own a mobile phone. This is compared to 78 percent in 2007, and 47 percent in 2000.

As well as technology developing over the past decade, the regulations themselves have been altered to address certain challenges for the recycling sector.

Must Buy

Following the introduction of the WEEE regulations in 2007, the biggest challenge for UK-based producers was the ‘must buy’ system for the recycling of WEEE.

This encouraged price hikes in the costs of obtaining evidence for recycled WEEE. This was particularly significant at the end of the year, when compliance was finally submitted, creating a ‘closed market’.

In 2013, this changed. The UK WEEE Regulations introduced the compliance fee for schemes that had not managed to collect enough.

This resulted in a more balanced system. One which strives to recognise all players in the process, ensuring that quality treatment standards are applied more consistently and that WEEE traceability is in place.

Treatment processes have become increasingly efficient in the last decade, with improved removal of regulated substances.


However, there are still challenges for UK producers to manage.

The uncertainty over Brexit and ‘ever-increasing targets’ are two particularly big hurdles. They should still be manageable challenges, though.

The most important countermeasure is to keep production costs as low as possible. This then enables them to meet stringent targets and ensure as much WEEE as possible is recycled through the recognised channels.

If you would like to chat to an expert at Tier 1 about recycling your old computers and laptops then call us on 0161 777 1000. 

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