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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Sustainability Assessment of the Implementation of the WEEE Directive in the UK

Athanasia (Thania) Christodoulou

Sustainability Assessment of the Implementation of the WEEE Directive in the UK

The production of Electrical and Electronic Equipment is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. In the European Union (EU) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is the fastest growing waste stream, growing at 3-5% per year. In the United Kingdom (UK) around 1.5 million tonnes of WEEE is generated every year. The WEEE directive aims to minimise the quantity of this waste stream going to landfill and increase its reuse, recovery and recycling. In the UK the WEEE regulations entered into force on 2 January 2007. The purpose of this study was to review the implementation of the WEEE directive in the UK and investigate the effectiveness of the policy in achieving sustainable outcomes. As a result of the Directive some categories of WEEE that have not been previously collected, they are now treated and diverted from landfill. This study found that a year after the implementation of the Directive little has changed in terms of increasing separate collection of WEEE as well as targeting the collection of small WEEE and non-household WEEE. Systems proved to be insufficient in terms of capturing all WEEE that is generated. There is leakage of both household and non-household WEEE from the ‘official’ waste management system. The report makes policy recommendations from the perspective of sustainable development on how the current WEEE management system under the Directive can be improved

Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.