What we cover

Streams – WEEE

WEEE – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Modern electronics are made of rare and expensive resources, which can be recycled and reused if the waste is effectively managed, saving raw materials.

From big to small, ear buds to IT, when devices reach their end-of-life they are considered Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). WEEE contains a complex mixture of materials, some of which are hazardous, which can cause major environmental and health problems if the discarded devices are not managed properly.

Improving the collection, treatment, and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) at the end of their life can

• improve sustainable
• production and consumption
• increase resource efficiency
• contribute to the circular economy

Recycling

What happens to your waste?

We believe recycling should be simple.

However, with so many types of products and materials it’s not always easy to distinguish what is recyclable from what isn’t.

To help simplify things, we’ve assembled an interactive guide of what you can recycle, with some general information about what happens during recycling and what can be reused.

Learn about the recycling process by selecting the icons below.

Large domestic appliances

Washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, ovens.

The first stage of recycling is decontamination: cables and other electrical components are removed; ballasts, plastics, iron compounds and other metals are separated and recovered. These materials are then sent for further processing and recovery.

Recycling process

1. Pre-shedding decontamination

2. Shredding

3. Separation

Recovered materials

Cables

Concrete

Capacitator

Plastic

Ferrous Metal

Non-Ferrous Metal

Temperature exchange equipment /Cooling appliances

Refrigerators, freezers, automatic cold products delivery machines.

Products include fridges, freezers, and any appliances with refrigerating devices such as water coolers. Some appliances also contain refrigerant gases classified as Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) and hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) that are now banned.

These gases are captured and treated in ODS recovery plants. Cold appliance de-pollution entails a variety of processes: compressors are decontaminated to recover ODS and oils; insulating foam is treated to recover ODS; metals are salvaged and resold, and plastics can be reused for new products. Recovered oils and ODS are destroyed in a specialised treatment process.

Recycling process

1. Decontamination

2. Shredding

3. Separation

4. Foam decontamination

Recovered materials

Gas

Oil

Capacitator

Plastic

Ferrous Metal

Foam

Display equipment

Televisions, screens, LCD, pc monitors

Display equipment includes cathode ray tubes (found in old-style TV sets and computer monitors) and flat-screen TVs and computer monitors, such as plasma and liquid crystal displays (LCD).
Cathode ray tubes (CRT) contain hazardous phosphor powder, leaded glass, copper, and other rare metals. These materials can be reused to make new products. Panel and funnel glass from the cathode ray tubes are also recovered. The coating on the funnel glass is removed and the glass is cleaned for new CRT manufacture.
Most LCD TVs use mercury lamps to light the screen. To remove the lamps, the appliance must be disassembled before processing the LCD screen. Research is currently being carried out to develop more effective, automated solutions.

Recycling process

1. Hand dismantling

2. Cathode ray tube separation (Pb, Ba)

3. Crushing and metal removal

4. Glass cleaning

Recovered materials

Ferrous Metal

Foam

Monitor body and electronics

Circuit Board

Leaded glass

Unleaded glass

Small Domestic Appliances

Vacuum cleaners, appliances for sewing, irons, toasters, electric knives, hairdryers, radio sets, electrical and electronic toys, luminaires;

This is the most complicated WEEE stream as a wide variety of materials can be recovered: wood, metal, plastic, glass, and cardboard.

This category includes appliances for cleaning (e.g. vacuum cleaners, carpet sweepers, etc.), appliances used for sewing, knitting, weaving and other processing for textiles, irons and other appliances for ironing, mangling and other care of clothing, toasters, fryers, grinders, coffee machines and equipment for opening or sealing containers or packages, electric knives, appliances for hair cutting, hair drying, tooth brushing, shaving, massage and other body care appliances, clocks, watches and equipment to measure, indicate or registering time, etc.

These appliances are shredded, and plastics are separated from metals. Initial decontamination includes the removal of ink toners, cartridges, batteries, and cables.

Recycling process

1. Manual pretreatment

2. Crushing

3. Picking station

4. Shredding

5. Separation

Recovered materials

Cables