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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Waste electrical and electronic equipment / Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WST 003) - Assessment published Jun 2013

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WST 003) - Assessment published Jun 2013

Indicator Assessment Created 11 Jan 2012 Published 13 Jun 2013 Last modified 27 Jan 2014, 09:56 AM

Generic metadata


Waste and material resources Waste and material resources (Primary topic)

household waste
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • WST 003
Temporal coverage:
2006, 2008, 2010
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Key policy question: Are we improving the collection and management of waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE)?

Key messages

Data indicates that while reuse and recycling of the collected waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) seems to be on track in the majority of the EU and EFTA member countries, the collection of the WEEE has shown varying but generally improving results. It appears that the amounts of WEEE that are collected, are largely reused (either as a whole appliance or components) or recycled although there is still room for improvement in some countries. However, more attention should be given to the improvement of collection systems. The level of collection is still very low in many countries, especially when compared to the amount put on the market (Figure 1).

Electric and electronic equipment put on the market, WEEE collected and recycled/reused in 28 European countries (kg/capita/year), in 2010

Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Trend in the amount of WEEE collected from households in 28 European countries (kg/capita/year), 2006-2008-2010

Data sources:
Explore chart interactively
Data sources:
Explore chart interactively

Trend in WEEE recycled/reused in 27 European countries (kg/capita/year), 2006-2008-2010

Data sources: Explore chart interactively
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Key assessment

Regarding the rate of total WEEE collected compared to the amount of electric and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market in 2010, among the countries where data is available on total collection and amount put on market (as Figure 1 shows) there were 4 countries that collected over 50%, twelve countries between 30% and 50%, and 9 countries between 10% and 30 %.
The total collection rate (including collection both from households and other sources) achieved so far is around 37 % by weight of amounts put on the market in 2010 — the average of 26 European countries for which all data are available. This is an  improvement compared to the data reported for the year 2006 when the collection rate was approximately 23%. However, due to the life span of the majority of EEE products the comparison of the amount put on the market and the amount collected in the same year is just an indicative number. Ideally, a collection rate would have to be calculated as rate of the WEEE generated, but this data does not exist.

Altogether, 20 out of the 26 EEA countries (where data on collection from households is available), reported to have met the collection target set in the 2002 WEEE Directive of 4 kg per person per year from private households in 2010, while there were only 11 countries out of 22 in 2006 that could meet the target applying from 2006 (Figure 2). An observation of the level of collection achieved and the entity(ies) in charge of collecting WEEE from households reveals that the countries that achieve a collection rate above 50% (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK) engage municipalities in the collection. The revised WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU) requires countries to meet collection rates for WEEE of 45% of EEE put on the market on average in the three preceding years from 2016 and 65% from 2019 (or alternatively 85 % of WEEE generated on the territory of that Member State). Meanwhile, the export of WEEE out of the EU disguised as used goods is still a grave concern.

The amount of WEEE reused and recycled has increased over time in all countries where data is available, as Figure 3 illustrates. In 2010 already most EEA countries achieved a reuse and recycling rate above 80%, and a further 5 EEA member countries between 70% and 80%.

It should be noted, however, that the recycling rate can be significantly affected by the point in the waste management chain where the recycling figures are taken. For instance, if the figure for the amount of materials recycled is taken from what is fed into a shredder, the figure may not necessarily reflect the amount of materials that are actually recycled.

Furthermore, a high recycling rate of WEEE does not necessarily correspond to a high collection rate. In 2008, among the 21 EEA countries that achieved a recycling rate above 80%, six achieved a collection rate below 25% (compared to the amount of products put on the market), but this situation improved by 2010 when the collection rate of countries with high recycling rates has also improved: out of the 20 EEA countries with recycling rates above 80%, there were 9 countries between 30-45% and 4 countries (Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden) already with above 45% collection rate.

There is also a time lag between the point at which a product is put on the market and when it is discarded. While there is a possible environmental advantage of using new products or their components in certain EEE from an energy efficiency point of view, from a resource efficiency point of view it is often better to use products longer.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Almut Reichel


EEA Management Plan

2011 2.5.3 (note: EEA internal system)


Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year in January-March (Q1)
Filed under:


European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100