Defra 1

Defra - London

Refusing to waste our resources

When Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) needed information on the content of Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) to help the UK meet the requirements of the EU WEEE Directive, Mayer Environmental was awarded the contract to produce the UK’s protocol.

WEEE recyclers are required to report, on a category-by-category basis, the recycling rates they have achieved to ensure they meet the directive’s minimum recycling and recovery requirements. Protocols are used to make this recording process simpler for recyclers and re-processors. 

The project required the design of large-scale sampling events to provide information on the categories of material present and their composition.

The Mayer solution

Mayer had the resources and contacts to accumulate and store more than 200 tonnes of WEEE. The material was generated across the UK. Careful logistical planning was required to transport it in stages to a single location. Storing the material in one location meant the whole 200 tonnes could be hand-sorted into the correct category.

The material was then transferred to a processing site, where it was homogenised and fragmented for further sampling. This ensured the composition of each category could be determined in terms of levels of plastic, wood, metals and other materials. 

All of this data was used to produce the UK Protocol for WEEE.


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