Waste statistics - electrical and electronic equipment

From Statistics Explained

Data from November 2013. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.


This article gives an overview of developments relating to waste electrical and electronic equipment in the European Union (EU) and some European non-member countries; it draws exclusively on data collected within the framework of Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The objective of the WEEE Directive is to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment to a) reduce the quantity of such waste to be disposed and b) to improve the environmental performance of the economic operators involved in its treatment.

The WEEE Directive sets criteria and targets for the collection (Article 5), treatment (Article 6) and recovery (Article 7) of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Article 12(1) of the Directive requires the EEA countries (European Economic Area), i.e. all EU member states and Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, to inform the European Commission annually of the quantity and weight of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market, collected and recycled.

EU waste management policies aim to reduce the environmental and health impacts of waste and improve the EU’s resource efficiency. The long-term aim of these policies is to reduce the amount of waste generated and, when waste generation is unavoidable, to promote it as a resource and achieve higher levels of recycling or dispose of it safely.

Figure 1: EEE put on the market and WEEE collected and treated, 2007-2010, EU-27 (incl. Eurostat estimates due to missing data for several member states) - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)

Main statistical findings

EEE put on the market and WEEE collected and treated in the EU-27

Figure 2: EEE put on the market by category and country, 2010, EU-27 - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)
Figure 3: WEEE collected in kg per inhabitant, 2007 and 2010, EU-27 - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)
Table 1: WEEE collected, by category in tonnes, 2010, EU-27 - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)
Figure 4: Collection rate for WEEE from households in 2010 in kg per inhabitant in relation to the average collection in the three preceding years (2007 - 2009), EU-27 - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)
Figure 5: Collection rate for WEEE in 2010 as a percentage of the average weight of EEE put on the market in the three preceding years (2007 - 2009), EU-27 - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)
Figure 6: WEEE collected in 2010 by source in relation to the EEE put on the market in the three preceding years (2007 - 2009), EU-27 - Source: Eurostat (env_waselee)

Figure 1 shows trends in the amount of EEE put on the market and of WEEE collected and treated for the EU-27 in the period from 2007 to 2010. Missing data for some countries have been estimated in order to be able to show developments for all of the EU-27. The time lag between the year when EEE is put on the market and the year when it becomes waste is currently not taken into account when monitoring the WEEE collection target. This will change with the revised monitoring from 2016 onwards (see Context section for more details).

Between 2007 and 2008, the amount of EEE put on the market increased by 621 000 tonnes (6.3 %) from 9.8 million tonnes to 10.4 million tonnes. In 2009, the amount dropped by 1.1 million tonnes (11 %) to 9.3 million tonnes only to increase again in 2010 to 9.7 million tonnes, which is close to the 2007 level and corresponds to an average of 19.4 kg/inhabitant. A decrease from 2008 to 2009 was reported by the majority of countries (22 of 27 countries) and is most likely due to the recession following the financial crisis.

The separate collection and recovery of WEEE grew steadily over the period from 2007 to 2010, although the pace of the increase slowed year on year. In 2010, 3.5 million tonnes or 7.0 kg/inhabitant of WEEE were collected separately.

In 2010, 3.4 million tonnes of WEEE were treated, of which 3.0 million tonnes were recovered. The recovered amount includes 2.8 million tonnes of recycled WEEE (i.e. reprocessed into a product) and 0.2 million tonnes that was used for energy production.


Electrical and electronic equipment put on the market by country

Figure 2 shows the composition of EEE put on the market by product category, reflecting the consumption pattern in the countries shown on the graph.

Large household appliances (category 1) are the dominant product category in all countries. The proportion ranges between 29 % (in Luxembourg) and 71 % (in Bulgaria) of total EEE put on the market. IT and telecommunication equipment (category 3) is the second most important product category in most countries (20 of the 28 countries), accounting for 6 % in Malta to 26 % in Luxembourg. Consumer equipment (category 4) and small household appliances (category 2) rank third or fourth in terms of quantity in most of the countries.

Medical devices (category 8), monitoring and control equipment (category 9) and automatic dispensers (category 10), which are summarised in one category in the figure, account for only a small share of the total EEE put on the market. Together, these three categories account for less than 5 % of the total in 26 of the 28 countries. Only Finland (7 %) and Malta (11 %) report higher figures for these categories.

Collection of WEEE by country

Figure 3 shows the amount of WEEE collected by country in kg/inhabitant for the years 2007 and 2010. The figure illustrates both the level of separate collection in the countries and the progress made between 2007 and 2010. The figure shows the total amount of WEEE collected, i.e. the sum of WEEE collected from households and from other sources.

In 2010, the amount of WEEE collected varied considerably across countries, ranging from 1.2 kg/inhabitant in Romania to 22.0 kg/inhabitant in Norway. The considerable variation in the amounts collected reflects differences in EEE consumption levels as well as the different performance levels of the waste collection schemes in place.

A comparison of WEEE collection in 2007 and 2010 shows that separate collection has improved significantly in most of the countries. Decreasing amounts for WEEE collection were reported by only eight countries. This includes Norway, Denmark and Ireland where the level of separate collection was already high in 2007.

Table 1 shows the amount of WEEE collected by equipment category. Large household appliances account for 1.5 million tonnes or 43 % of the total WEEE collected in the EU-27. IT and telecommunication equipment and consumer equipment are the second (20 %) and third (18 %) most important categories in terms of quantity, with 698 000 tonnes and 623 000 tonnes respectively. Small household appliances contribute 199 000 tonnes or 6 % to WEEE collection. The remaining seven categories together total 160 000 tonnes or 5 % of WEEE collected.

Figure 4 compares the amount of WEEE collected from households in 2010 with the average amount collected in the previous three years and in relation to the Directive’s collection target of a minimum of 4 kg/inhabitant of WEEE from households to be achieved by all countries in 2009 at the latest (blue line).

Altogether, 10 countries failed to meet the collection target of 4 kg/inhabitant (Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia) of which three countries (Greece, Slovakia, Hungary) were very close to the target (with 3.9 kg/inhabitant).

In 22 of the 29 countries shown, the collected amount of WEEE increased compared with the average of the previous three years. Of the seven countries that reported a decrease, three countries (Denmark, Finland, Ireland) had already achieved collection rates clearly above the collection target. Two countries (Spain, Hungary) had achieved the target in previous years but fell below the target in 2010. Two countries neither achieved the target in 2010 nor in the preceding years.

The recast of the WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU), which entered into force on 13 August 2012, introduces a stepped increase in the collection targets that will take effect in 2016 and 2019. From 2016, the annual collection target will be defined as the ratio between the collected amount and the average weight of EEE put on the market in the three preceding years. The collection target is set at 45 % in 2016 and will rise to 65 % in 2019[1].

In Figure 5, the amount collected in 2010 is related to the average weight of EEE put on the market in the years 2007 to 2009 for each country. In addition, the future collection targets of 45 % and 65 % are marked on the graph. The figures give an indication of the distance the countries need to cover to achieve the future targets.

According to the data, five EU Member States (Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Sweden) and Norway already achieved the 45 % target in 2010, and Austria was very close to the target. Sweden even exceeded the 65 % collection target. The high rate reported by Bulgaria should be considered with caution as it is likely to have resulted from an underestimation of the amounts put on the market.

All countries achieved rates of more than 10 % in 2010. The lowest rates of between 10 % and 20 % were achieved in Spain, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Romania.

Figure 6 specifies the source of the separately collected amount of waste for each country for 2010, i.e. it shows the amount of WEEE that originates from households and the amount from sources other than households. Furthermore, the figure illustrates the relation between the amount of waste collected and the amount of WEEE that is potentially available for collection. The amount of EEE put on the market in the three preceding years (2007 – 2009), which is reflected by the total height of the bars, is used to approximate the potential WEEE available for separate collection.

The figure shows that households are the main source of WEEE in all countries. Significant amounts of WEEE from commercial sources are reported by only a few countries, including Norway with 6.2 kg/inhabitant (28 %) of WEEE from other sources, Italy with 5.4 kg/inhabitant (56 %), Ireland with 1.7 kg/inhabitant (17 %) and Sweden with 1.3 kg/inhabitant (8 %). In all other countries, the quantities of WEEE from other sources amount to 0.2 kg/inhabitant on average or to 4 % of the total WEEE collected.

However, the metadata from several countries indicate that the data coverage for WEEE from other sources is lower than for WEEE from households. Thus, WEEE collected from other sources is likely to be higher than reflected by the reported figures.

The differences across countries with regard to the average amount of EEE put on the market from 2007 to 2009 illustrate that countries with a lower consumption of EEE need to be more efficient in the separate collection of waste than countries with a high consumption to achieve the collection target of 4 kg/inhabitant.

Data sources and availability

Data on WEEE are reported by the Member Countries as laid down in Commission Decision 2005/396/EC laying down rules for monitoring compliance of Member States and establishing data formats for the purposes of Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment.

The frequency and deadline of reporting is laid down in Article 12(1) of Directive 2002/96/EC which sets out that the information required must be collected on an annual basis and reported to the Commission every two years within 18 months of the end of the period covered. The reported data become available in the Eurostat database approximately three months after the reporting deadline. Data are available from reference year 2005 to reference year 2010. The data for the reporting periods 2011 and 2012 are due by the end of June 2014.

Context

The management of WEEE is regulated by Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE-Directive). The objective of this Directive is, ‘as a first priority, the prevention of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and in addition, the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such wastes so as to reduce the disposal of waste’ (Article 1).To this end, Directive 2002/96/EC sets out rules and targets for the collection, treatment and recovery of WEEE.

Annex IA to Directive 2002/96/EC defines 10 categories of electrical and electronic equipment covered by the Directive:

1. Large household appliances
2. Small household appliances
3. IT and telecommunications equipment
4. Consumer equipment
5. Lighting equipment
6. Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools)
7. Toys, leisure and sports equipment
8. Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products)
9. Monitoring and control instruments
10. Automatic dispensers

The categories are specified and illustrated in Annex IB which contains a list of products falling under the categories in Annex IA and within the scope of the Directive.

The Directive obliges Member States to adopt appropriate measures to achieve a high level of separate collection of WEEE. Different provisions apply for WEEE from private households and for other WEEE.

All WEEE collected has to be transported to authorised treatment facilities unless the appliances are reused as a whole. Treatment facilities are obliged to obtain a permit in compliance with Articles 9 and 10 of Directive 75/442/EEC. The treatment operation may also be undertaken outside the respective Member State or the European Union provided that the shipment of WEEE complies with Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93, and that the exporter can prove that the recovery, reuse and/or recycling operation takes place under conditions that are equivalent to the requirements of this Directive.

For the purpose of monitoring these targets, producers, or third parties acting on their behalf, have to keep records on the mass of WEEE and the equipment components, materials or substances entering (input) and leaving (output) the treatment facility and/or entering (input) the recovery or recycling facility. The detailed requirements for reporting are laid down in Commission Decision 2005/396/EC.

Directive 2002/96/EC was repealed on 15 February 2014 and was replaced by Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), which introduces a stepped increase in collection targets that will take effect in 2016 and 2019. Furthermore, from 2018, the current limited scope of the Directive will be extended from its present restricted scope to all categories of EEE, and consequently the definition and number of the categories will change.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Resource efficiency indicators (eu2020_r)
Transforming the economy (t2020_rt)
Turning waste into a resource (t2020_rt1)
Recycling rate of e-waste (t2020_rt130)

Database

Waste Statistics (env_was)
Waste streams (env_wasst)
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) (env_waselee)

Dedicated section

Methodology/Metadata

Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)

Other information

External links

Notes

  1. The collection rate in 2019 may also be calculated on the basis of WEEE generated instead of on the average weight of EEE put on the market in the three preceding years. Member States will be able to choose which of these two equivalent ways to use to measure the target they wish to report.
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