Electrical waste recycling (WEEE)
Each year over one million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (WEEE) is thrown away in the UK
Electrical and electronic equipment makes up around 5% of Europe’s municipal waste and is growing 3 times faster than any other municipal waste stream.
When obsolete materials are not recycled, raw materials have to be processed to make new products.
In 2009 it is estimated that out of 12 million tonnes of WEEE waste arising in Europe the loss of resources was around
- 4.8 million tonnes of ferrous metal
- 2.4 million tonnes of plastic
- 1,304,000 tonnes of copper
- 672,000 tonnes of aluminium
- 672,000 tonnes of glass
This in addition to the loss of heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury and more…
How is WEEE recycled?
Fridges and freezers
All compressor oils and refrigerant gases are removed and where possible recovered or incinerated. The compressor is then removed and recycled, the remaining fridge or freezer is then shredded capturing any CFCs. The metal, plastic are all separated and recycled.
Are recycled by removing the outer casing, the unit then passes through a tube splitter which cuts off the end screen glass. This is a glass tube normally containing high levels of lead. Once decontaminated both the end screen glass and the tube glass are recycled. All circuit boards are also removed, broken down into plastics and metals and then recycled.
Other types of WEEE are processed by removing any plastics, metals and circuit boards, by shredding and separating in specialist groups.
Categories of WEEE
IT and Telecom Equipment
Centralised data processors
Answering machines etc
Video recorders etc
Luminaries for florescent tubes
Straight florescent tubes
Other lighting equipment etc
Riveting and nailing tools
Lawn mower and other gardening tools etc
Hand held video game
Coin slot machines
Video game consoles
Trains or car racing sets etc
Cardiology equipment etc
Monitoring / Control
Hot drinks dispensers
Cold bottles or cans dispensers
All appliances which deliver automatic products