Ecotic

WEEE

WEEE means waste of electrical and electronic equipment.

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We have been interacting with more than 3 million Romanians for the past 9 years. We have listened to their opinions and questions and came up with a summary of the most relevant information regarding WEEE; it will help you understand what they are, what they contain and why it is wise to collect and recycle them, as well as where you can hand them over. 

What is WEEE?

WEEE means all kinds of electric and electronic equipment you can think of: refrigerators, washing machines, TV sets, computers, mobile phones, radios, video cameras, microwave ovens, etc. They are all around you and they contribute significantly to the quality of your life.

You must have changed some of them already because they got old or broken. Do you remember what you did with them? At this moment, electronic waste accounts for 5% of all municipal solid waste worldwide, nearly the same amount as all plastic packaging. However WEEE is more dangerous.

 (insert schema cu ciclul de viata al unui DEEE)

Why should I hand over and recycle WEEE?

For two very important reasons:

  • WEEE contains dangerous elements for our health and the environment – greenhouse gases or harmful heavy metals.
  • The recovery of significant quantities of secondary raw materials; WEEE has a high degree of recycling-reuse (between 85-90%).

 

What hazardous substances can be found in WEEE?

Freon: CFC, HFC, HCFC; they can be found in refrigerating equipment (including insulating foam) and in the foam insulation of boilers.

Harmful effects:

  • They degrade the ozone layer
  • They have a high global warming potential, which can cause the rise of sea level, extreme weather, melting of the glaciers, extinction of many species and changes on human health.

 

Brominated flame retardants, which are found both in electronic boards and plastic casings, do not degrade in the environment.

Harmful effects:

  • Long term exposure to these substances can lead to memory problems.
  • They can interfere in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland and the human hormonal system.

 

Capacitors with PCB – Polychlorinated Biphenyl compounds. They are found in old appliances manufactured until 1987: washing machines, refrigeration equipment, dishwashers, hoods, dryers, microwave ovens, fluorescent lighting ballast, lamps, copying equipment, power units, and screens.

Harmful effects:

  • PCBs are toxic to aquatic organisms are lethal in high doses.
  • PCB affects the immune system and the reproductive apparatus of various wild mammals.
  • Effects of human exposure to PCB disrupts the normal functionality of the liver, immune system, reproductive system, digestive tract, thyroid gland, bone marrow and gastric mucosa, occurring behavioral disorders, atrophy of the thymus and lymph nodes.

PVC – plastic containing chlorine, found in some electronic and cable insulation.

Harmful effects:

  • Improper processing (combustion) of dioxins and furans determine emissions which are very persistent in the environment and are the most toxic substances next to radioactive materials, with effects such as cancer, hormonal disorders, immune system effects, diabetes, learning disabilities, diseases of lungs and skin, chronic fatigue syndrome, hematologic disorders, nervous system disturbances, and others.

 

Mercury – it can be found in lamps and energy saving light bulbs, in lamps for backlighting LCD screens, in batteries and old equipment, in switches and relays.

The UN signed a new treaty under which over 140 countries have agreed to ban a variety of products containing mercury starting with 2020.

These include thermometers, batteries (except those used in medical devices for implants), certain types of fluorescent lamps and cosmetics.

Harmful effects:

  • Mercury affects the nervous system and kidneys.

For more details:

 

What raw materials can be recovered from WEEE?

After treatment of WEEE, raw materials with economic value can be recvered: iron, aluminum, copper, plastic and glass.

High value compounds can be found in the electronic boards – gold, silver, platinum and rare metals: antimony, beryllium, indium, gallium, etc.

There are also elements that come out of treatment as “unrecyclable”, yet they too have energetic value and they can be co-incinerated in power plants or in the cement industry: wood, plastic, rubber, etc.

How are WEEE treated and recycled?

WEEE treatment involves an initial sorting on typology (refrigerators, CRT equipment, large appliances, IT, etc.).

Step one is the extraction of high-risk components or components that require a careful treatment in the following fluxes: liquids, refrigerants, batteries, electronic boards, cables, asbestos, etc.

Next, the depolluted WEEE goes through a process of automatic or manual dismantling at the end of which homogeneous compounds are identified, which are the bases for future secondary raw materials or which require energy recovery operations or controlled disposal.

Special attention is paid to refrigeration equipment containing ozone-depleting elements and CRT equipment that contain a fine powder filled with toxic elements.

HOW IS THE CRT MONITOR RECYCLED (SEE THE DETAILS HERE )
HOW IS THE FRIDGE RECYCLED (SEE THE DETAILS HERE )
HOW IS THE CPU RECYCLED (SEE THE DETAILS HERE)

 

Reuse of WEEE

Certain types of WEEE, especially computers, servers and notebooks, can be refurbished and then reused. There are a lot of areas in Romania with a real need for access to computers and the internet. In the countryside, disadvantaged communities – schools, orphanages, libraries or NGOs are truly helped by donations of refurbished IT equipment.

ECOTIC works together with Ateliere fara Frontiere, an innovative NGO that implements solutions for a social, circular and solidary economy. By running an insertion workshop for socially challenged persons, AFF refurbishes computers, puts authorized software on the equipment and every three months, after a thorough selection of relevant projects, they donate this IT equipment to NGOs of institutions that help disadvantaged communities.

We are really proud that over 2500 refurbished computers are now in schools, orphanages, social homes or social organisms.

WEEELABEX

WEEELABEX is an acronym derived from the phrase ” WEEE label of excellence”, giving the name of the project that’s co- funded by the Life – Environment Program of the European Community ( LIFE07 ENV/B/000041 ). The project has a budget of € 1,064,600 .

WEEELABEX is a project led by the WEEE Forum in cooperation with stakeholders in the community and industry manufacturers (Digital Europe CECED , EERA , ELC ). This project was founded in 2009 and led to the creation of  WEEELABEX prganization, on April 17, 2013 in Prague, is considered the peak point of the project. The web-site is http://www.weeelabex.org, ECOTIC is one of the founders of WEEELABEX. .

Establishing clear requirements in operational WEEE streams are designed to limit the pollution in the procesees of collection and  recycling of WEEE, to ensure the safety and health of people involved and increase efficiency in the recovery of materials derived from the recycling processes . Their purpose is the prevention of improper disposal of WEEE, restrict illegal exports and creating a level playing field for all actors in the chain of WEEE.

EEE

1. Large household appliances.

2. Small household appliances.

3. IT and electronic communications equipment.

4. Consumer equipment and photo voltaic panels.

5. Lighting equipment.

6. Electrical and electronic tools, with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tool.

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.

WEEE clasification regarding waste codes from GD 856/2002

16 02      waste of electrical and electronic equipment

16 02 11*  scrapped equipment with chlorofluorocarbons, HCFC, HFC

16 02 13*  scrapped equipment with dangerous substances *2) other than the ones from 16 02 09 to 16 02 12

16 02 14   scrapped equipment, other than the ones from 16 02 09 to 16 02 13