Statistics Explained

Waste statistics - electrical and electronic equipment

Data from: February 2022

Planned update: 1 December 2022

Highlights

In 2019, the average collected waste electrical and electronic equipment in the EU Member States, was 10.0 kg per inhabitant.
In 2019, three Member States achieved the 65 % target set for collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment. 18 of the EU Member States were above the 45 % collection rate, applicable until reference year 2018.
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Waste electrical and electronic equipment collected in 2019

This article provides an overview on processed amounts of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in the European Union (EU) and EFTA countries. It is based on data collected within the framework of Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Directive).

The objective of the WEEE Directive is to promote reuse, collection, recycling and other forms of recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment, in order to reduce its disposed amounts. In 2019, the collection rate of WEEE was 48.5 % in the European Union (measured as the volume of WEEE collected in relation to the average amount of electronic equipment put on the market in the three preceding years, i.e. 2016-2018).


Full article


Electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market and WEEE processed in the EU

Figure 1 shows trends in the amount of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market and WEEE collected, treated, recovered, recycled and prepared for reuse in the EU in the years from 2011 to 2019. Missing data for some EU Member States have been estimated, in order to show the developments for the EU as a whole. Information on the lifespan of EEE products from the year put on the market to the year when these become waste is currently not available in the data collected within the frame of monitoring the WEEE collection target. The collection target changed in connection with the revised monitoring introduced from the reference year 2016 onwards (see the Context section below for more details).

From year 2011 to year 2019, the amount of EEE put on the market in the EU evolved from 7.6 million tonnes in 2011 to a new peak of 11.2 million tonnes in 2019, with a minimum of 7.3 million tonnes in 2013 and a growth of 46.9 % over the whole period. In the same period, at EU level, the total WEEE collected increased from 3.0 to 4.5 million tonnes (+47.6 %). The total WEEE treated grew from 3.3 to 4.4 million tonnes (+34.6 %), total WEEE recovered developed from 2.7 to 4.0 million tonnes (+45.8 %) and total WEEE recycled and prepared for reuse evolved from 2.6 to 3.6 million tonnes (+41.9 %).


Figure 1: Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market and waste EEE collected, treated, recovered, recycled and prepared for reuse, EU, 2011–2019
(thousand tonnes)
Source: Eurostat (env_waseleeos) and Eurostat (env_waselee)

Electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market and WEEE collected by country

The recast of the WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU), which entered into force on 13 August 2012, introduced a stepped increase in the collection targets, taking effect from reference years 2016 and from reference year 2019 respectively. From reference year 2016 onwards, the annual collection target is 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 was set at 45 % for reference year 2016 and rises to 65 % from reference year 2019 onwards. [1] However, according to the derogation set out in article 7 point 3 of the WEEE directive these countries may decide to postpone the achievement of the collection target until 14 August 2021: Bulgaria, Czechia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

In Figure 2a, WEEE collected is shown as the share of the EEE put on the market. The share is calculated as the ratio of the amount of collected WEEE in 2019 in relation to the average amount of EEE put on the market in the three preceding years, i.e. 2016-2018. These ratios provide an overview of the EU Member States collection performance towards the collection targets of 45 % and 65 %, respectively.

In 2019, 18 EU Member States surpassed the 45 % WEEE collection target. Five further Member States reported rates falling in the range of 39.4 % to 44.3 %, while one Member State remained below 30 %.

Three Member States met the new and more ambitious target of 65 % collection rate for WEEE that entered into force from reference year 2019 onwards. In addition, three more Member States nearly achieved the 65 % target, with rates ranging from 64.2 % to 61.3 %.

Figure 2b shows the collection rate calculated as the amount of collected WEEE in relation to the amount of generated WEEE in the same year: only two EU Member States have chosen this methodology to calculate the collection rate. For this calculation method the WEEE Directive sets a target collection rate of 85 % from reference year 2019 onwards.

Figure 2a: Total collection rate for waste electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), 2019
(% of the average weight of EEE put on the market in the three preceding years (2016-2018))
Source: Eurostat (env_waseleeos) and Eurostat (env_waselee)


Figure 2b: Total collection rate for waste electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), 2019
(% of the weight of WEEE generated in the same year)
Source: Eurostat (env_waseleeos)


Figure 3 shows the amount of WEEE collected in 2019 in comparison to the EEE put on the market in the three preceding years (2016-2018) and the WEEE generated in 2019. These are all expressed in kilograms per inhabitant (based on the average number of inhabitants in year 2019). In the EU, the WEEE collected in year 2019 was estimated at 10.0 kilograms per inhabitant, while the average EEE put on the market over the period 2016-2018 was estimated at 20.7 kilograms per inhabitant. The variation in the collected amounts reflects differences in EEE consumption level between countries, as well as differences in the performance of their respective waste collection schemes.

For reference year 2019, due to the transition from the methodology applying 10 categories to the new methodology applying 6 categories, countries have calculated the collection rate based on the average weight of EEE placed on the market in the three preceding years, by means of an estimation of the amounts placed on the market in the years 2016 to 2018 according to the 6 categories method. These amounts are not published. The average of the three preceding years according to the 6 categories methodology has been calculated as WEEE collected divided by WEEE collection rate. (See the 'Context' section for more details on the WEEE categories.

Figure 3: Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market in the three preceding years (2016-2018), waste EEE generated in 2019 and waste EEE collected in 2019
(kilograms per inhabitant)
Source: Eurostat (env_waseleeos) and Eurostat (env_waselee)

Data sources

Data on WEEE are reported by the EU Member States according to Decision 2005/396/EC laying down rules for monitoring compliance of EU Member States and establishing data formats for the purposes of Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Member States have the obligation to report to the Commission within 18 months of the end of the reference year on the achievement of the targets for WEEE collection, re-use, recycling and / or recovery on the basis of Decision 2005/369/EC. This Commission decision remained valid after Directive 2002/96/EC was repealed and replaced by Directive 2012/19/EU (article 25).

The reported data become available in the Eurostat database approximately three months after the reporting deadline. Data are available from reference year 2005 onwards.

Context

Materials and components arising from WEEE, due to hazardous content, can cause major environmental and health problems if not properly managed. Moreover, production of modern electrical and electronic equipment requires the use of rare and expensive resources. The amelioration of collection, treatment and recycling of WEEE is essential to improve its environmental management, its contribution to circular economy and enhance resource recycling efficiency.

The management of WEEE is regulated by Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The first WEEE Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC) entered into force in February 2003. The Directive provided for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their WEEE free of charge. These schemes aim to increase the recycling and / or re-use of WEEE.

Directive 2002/96/EC was repealed on 15 February 2014 and replaced by Directive 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), which introduced a stepped increase in collection targets for years 2016 and 2019. Furthermore, from 15 August 2018 onwards, the scope of the Directive is extended to all categories of EEE, with exclusion of the EEE described in paragraphs 3 and 4 of article 2 of Directive 2012/19/EU. Consequently, the definition and number of the categories is different, and the reporting obligation applies as described here below:

(a) until the reference year 2018 to EEE falling within 10 product categories set out in Annex I to Directive 2012/19/EU :

  1. Large household appliances
  2. Small household appliances
  3. IT and telecommunications equipment
  4. Consumer equipment and photovoltaic panels
  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

Annex II contains an indicative list of products falling under the categories in Annex I.

(b) from the reference year 2019 onwards all EEE shall be classified within 6 product categories set out in Annex III as classified here below, with exclusion of the EEE described in paragraphs 3 and 4 of article 2 of Directive 2012/19/EU

  1. Temperature exchange equipment
  2. Screens, monitors, and equipment containing screens having a surface greater than 100 cm2
  3. Lamps
  4. Large equipment (any external dimension more than 50 cm) including, but not limited to: Household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; consumer equipment; luminaires; equipment reproducing sound or images, musical equipment; electrical and electronic tools; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; automatic dispensers; equipment for the generation of electric currents. This category does not include equipment included in categories 1 to 3.
  5. Small equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm) including, but not limited to: Household appliances; consumer equipment; luminaires; equipment reproducing sound or images, musical equipment; electrical and electronic tools; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; automatic dispensers; equipment for the generation of electric currents. This category does not include equipment included in categories 1 to 3 and 6.
  6. Small IT and telecommunication equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm)

Annex IV contains a non-exhaustive list of EEE which falls within the categories set out in Annex III (open scope).

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Notes

  1. The collection rate for reference year 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 choose which of these two methods shall be applied for the assessment of the collection rate target. For reference year 2019, only Luxembourg and Hungary have chosen to calculate the collection rate on the basis of WEEE generated in the same year. WEEE generated calculation methodology is defined in Annex II of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/699 as the sum, for each EEE product, of the amount of EEE placed on the market and the estimation of the corresponding products lifespan.