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ORADEA – Waste Management Technologies

Project title

Waste Management Technologies


Education Module no 1

Waste of Electric Electronic Equipment



dr Zsigmond ZÉTÉNYI


University of Oradea


Department of Energy Engineering






Oradea 2016



Part 1 WEEE – EU Legislation_ 4

  1. Introduction_ 4
  2. E-Waste Legislation_ 4

2.1.        E-Waste Definition_ 4

2.2.        EU-WEEE-Directives 5

2.3.        International Trade and Production Statistics 5

2.4.        European List of Wastes 5

2.5.        Classification of E-waste under the Basel Convention_ 5

2.6.        System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 6

2.7.        EWM Indicators 6

  1. Legislation review_ 6
  2. Implementation of the WEEE Directive in the EU_ 7
  3. Benchmark WEEE Legislation_ 7

5.1.        E-waste Legislation in Romania 7

5.2.        WEEE Legislation in Turkey 8

5.3.        WEEE law in Turkey 8

5.4.        Benchmark Turkey WEEE Legislation_ 9

  1. E-waste Benchmarking_ 10

6.1.        Trends in the amount of EEE put on the market and of WEEE collected and treated for the EU in the period from 2007–2012_ 10

6.2.        Electrical and electronic equipment put on the market by country 10

6.3.        Collection of WEEE by country 11

Part 2 WEEE Management and Treatment 12

  1. E-waste Inventory_ 12

7.1.        Guidance procedure for WEEE/E-waste definition_ 12

7.2.        Assessment of WEEE/ E-waste Market 13

7.2.1.          WEEE/ E-waste as a Tradable Commodity 13

7.2.2.          WEEE/ E-waste Composition, Recyclability and Hazardousness 13

7.2.3.          Mechanism of WEEE/ E-waste Trade_ 13      Conceptual Life Cycle of Electrical and Electronic Equipment 13      WEEE/ E-waste Material Flow Model 14

  1. E-waste Management 15

8.1.        Components of WEEE/E-waste Management 15

8.2.        Technologies for WEEE/E-waste Management 16

8.3.        Collection systems 16

8.3.1.          Collection Channels 16      Retailer Take Back and Storage_ 16      Producer Take Back and Storage_ 16      Municipal Collection and Storage_ 16      Other Collection Points 17

8.3.2.          Collection Infrastructure_ 17

  1. WEEE/ E-waste Treatment Systems 17

9.1.        WEEE/ E-waste Treatment Technology 18

9.1.1.          First Level WEEE/E-waste Treatment 18

9.1.2.          Second Level WEEE/E-waste Treatment 18

9.1.3.          3rd Level WEEE/E-waste Treatment 19

  1. EWM Best practices worldwide_ 19

10.1.      Benchmark WEEE systems in Europe_ 19

10.2.      Benchmark WEEE system in Romania 22

10.3.      Siemens/Fujitsu, Germany 25

10.4.      Sharp UK_ 26

10.5.      Social Enterprises for better and sustainable WEEE Recycling, Austria 26

10.6.      Matsushita Electric (Lytle, 2003) 26

10.7.      Mitsubishi Electric – Recycling Household Appliances Plastic 27

10.8.      ICT Milieu – Denmark 27

10.9.      El Kretsen – Sweden_ 28

10.10.        Recupel – Belgium_ 28

10.11.        El-Retur – Norway 28

10.12.        SWICO – Switzerland_ 28

  1. Raising awareness for the people_ 29
  2. Conclusions 29

References 30


List of Figures

Figure 1 The Structure of the WEEE Sector 8

Figure 2 Trends in the amount of EEE put on the market and of WEEE collected and treated for the EU in the period from 2007–2012 Source: 10

Figure 3 Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market, by category and country, 2012 (%) Source: Eurostat 10

Figure 4 Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected, by country, 2007 and 2012 (kg per inhabitant) Source: Eurostat 11

Figure 5 The amount of WEEE collected from households in 2012 with the average amount collected in the previous three years and in relation to the Directive’s collection target of a minimum of 4 kg/inhabitant of WEEE from households to be achieved by all countries in 2009 at the latest (blue line). 11

Figure 6 Conceptual Life Cycle of Electrical and Electronic Equipment 14

Figure 7 Unit process approach_ 14

Figure 8 Conceptual WEEE/ E-waste Material Flow Model 14

Figure 9 WEEE/E-waste collection system consists of producer/ retailer take back system, municipal collection system and recycler’s/ dismantler’s collection system_ 16

Figure 10 Summary of different aspects of the various collection models 20

Figure 11 Collected volume per country 21

Figure 12 Collection rate per country 21

Figure 13 Recycling results 21

Figure 14 Compliance scheme 22

Figure 15 Sharp Super Green Strategy 26

Figure 16 Recupel – Belgium                    Figure 17 Recupel – Belgium – Recycling objectives 28


List of tables

Table 1 WEEE/E-waste definition reference matrix 13

Table 2 Input/Output and unit operation for third level treatment of E-waste 20

Table 3 Comparison of WEEE Costs in Europe with Romanian Visible Fees 25

Table 4 Commercial Value of the WEEE Sector 25


Part 1 WEEE – EU Legislation


1.      Introduction

E-waste is part of municipal waste, namely of the solid fraction of municipal waste. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is known as trash or garbage (U.S.) or as refuse or rubbish (UK). E-waste is a waste type consisting of everyday items that are discarded by the public.

EEE means equipment which is dependent on electrical currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurement of such current and fields falling under the categories set out in Annex IA to Directive 2002/96/EC (WEEE) and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1000 volts for alternating current and 1500 volts for direct current. Globally, WEEE/ E-waste are most commonly used terms for electronic waste.

E-waste is matter of serious concerns. The worldwide use of electric, electronic equipment and of information and communications technology equipment (WEEE) is growing. Consequently, there is a growing amount of equipment that becomes waste after its time in use. This growth is expected to accelerate, since equipment lifespan decrease over time. Most of e-waste is still getting trashed. There are many reasons for why E-waste doesn’t belong in the trash. Electronics typically contain many toxic chemicals, like lead, mercury, beryllium, cadmium, arsenic, and halogenated flame retardants in the plastics. There are concerns that these toxins could leach into groundwater eventually. Sometimes e-waste is sent to incinerators, and the toxics may be emitted into the atmosphere. Another reason not to throw electronics into the trash is that there are recoverable materials in them.  Many of the metals for example used in electronics can be recovered for manufacturing new products. Electronics also take up a lot of room in the landfills. A great deal of what is labeled as “e-waste” is actually not waste at all; rather, it is whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery. The increased regulation of E-waste and the growing concern over the environmental harm in developed countries creates an economic disincentive to remove residues prior to export. It is still too easy to export unscreened electronic waste to developing countries, such as China, India and parts of Africa, thus avoiding the expense of removing them. The presence of valuable recyclable components attracts informal and unorganized sector. The unsafe and environmentally risky practices of waste pose great risks to health and environment, which is even more valid for the informal sector. Benefits of recycling are extended when responsible recycling methods are used, which aim to minimize the dangers to human health and the environment that disposed and dismantled electronics can create. However, direct cost usually overcomes the direct benefit. The “other cost” are generally externalized.


2.      E-Waste Legislation

2.1.   E-Waste Definition

An analysis of available definitions reveals that there are three major indicators to understanding WEEE/ E-waste. These are: the definition of “electrical and electronic equipment”, the way ‘loss of utility”, and “way of disposal” are defined. “Loss of Utility” is related to variation in consumer behavior, while “Way of Disposal” broadly reflects different national policies and regulations for considering waste as “pollutant” or a “source”. The most widely accepted definition of WEEE/ E-waste is as per the EU directive.


2.2.   EU-WEEE-Directives

Currently, the WEEE Directive[1] is in force in the EU Member States. The WEEE Directive lists 10 categories for which data is collected. Those are: (1) Large Household appliances; (2) Small Household appliances; (3) IT and telecommunications equipment; (4) Consumer equipment; (5) Lighting equipment; (6) Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large-scale stationary industrial tools); (7) Toys, leisure and sports equipment; (8) Medical devices (with the exception of all implanted and infected products); (9) Monitoring and control instruments; and (10) Automatic dispensers. The WEEE Directive imposes a “flat” collection target of 4 kg/inhabitant for each Member State in the EU. Since there is no target relative to the total size of e-waste generation, or the consumption within the Member State, it lacks the ability to capture the effectiveness of waste management. This was the one of the main reasons for the recast of the WEEE Directive[2]. The recast of the WEEE Directive lists six other categories that should be reported, which are representative of the e-waste collection streams in practice. These categories are: (1) temperature exchange equipment (referred to as cooling and freezing); (2) screens and monitors (referred to as screens), (3) lamps; (4) large equipment; (5) small equipment and (6) small IT and telecommunication equipment with an external dimension of less than 50 cm. The Member States either have a collection target based on a percentage of the amounts put on the market (PoM) in the three preceding years, or as a percentage of e-waste generated.


2.3.   International Trade and Production Statistics

Foreign trade (import and export) statistics for each product are registered under the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS codes) developed by the World Customs Organization. There are about 5.300 HS codes (six digits) describing all commodities per year. Within that group, there are about 270 codes regarded as relevant to EEE, according to their descriptions.


2.4.   European List of Wastes

The European List of Wastes (LoW) is the waste classification in the EU for administrative purposes (i.e. for permits and supervision in the field of waste generation and management). Waste statistics reporting is typically done on an aggregated level, based on the type of waste. The LoW defines 839 waste types according to the source of the waste (i.e. the economic sector or process of origin). Each waste type is characterized by a six-digit code. The allocation of wastes to the defined waste types is laid out in the introduction of Decision 2000/532/EC. There are 13 LoW codes that refer to e-waste. They are subdivided into hazardous and non-hazardous waste, which are structured into 20 chapters.


2.5.   Classification of E-waste under the Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). The Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992. As of January 2015, 182 states and the European Union are parties to the Convention. Haiti and the United States have signed the Convention but not ratified it.

Article 2 (“Definitions”) of the Basel Convention defines waste as “substances or objects, which are disposed of or are intended to be disposed of or are required to be disposed of by the provisions of national law”. It is important to note that national provisions concerning the definition of waste may differ, and the same material that is regarded as waste in one country may be non-waste in another country.


2.6.   System of Environmental-Economic Accounting

The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) contains the internationally adopted standard concepts, definitions, classifications, accounting rules and tables for producing internationally-comparable statistics on the environment and its relationship with the economy. The SEEA framework follows a similar accounting structure as the System of National Accounts (SNA) and uses concepts, definitions and classifications consistent with the SNA’s in order to facilitate the integration of environmental and economic statistics. In the SEEA, e-waste would fall under Chapter 3.6.5 on waste accounting.


2.7.   EWM Indicators

The indicators should capture the most essential aspects of a country’s performance of e-waste management. For e-waste, the indicators need to present a good overview of the size of a country’s electronic market, national e-waste arising and the country’s formal collection. Next, benchmarking should be possible, and differences in countries performances should be visible. For example the following indicators can be constructed:

  • Total EEE put on market (unit kg/inh) – This represents the size of the national e-goods market.
  • Total e-waste generated (unit kg/inh) – This represents the size of the national e-waste market.
  • E-waste collection (unit kg/inh) – This represents the amount of e-waste that is collected as such.
  • E-waste collection rate = e-waste collected / e-waste generated * 100 per cent.


3.      Legislation review

To address these problems in EU two pieces of legislation have been put in place.


Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE Directive) – Directive 2002/96/EC entered into force in February 2003, and provided for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their WEEE free of charge.

The key aims of the WEEE Directive are thus to:

  • Reduce WEEE disposal to landfill;
  • Provide for a free producer take-back scheme for consumers of end-of-life equipment from 13 August 2005;
  • Improve product design with a view to both preventing WEEE and to increasing its recoverability, reusability and/or recyclability;
  • Achieve targets for recovery, reuse and recycling of different classes of WEEE;
  • Provide for the establishment of collection facilities and separate collection systems of WEEE from private households;
  • Provide for the establishment and financing of systems for the recovery and treatment of WEEE, by producers including provisions for placing financial guarantees on new products placed on the market.


WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU entered into force on 13 August 2012 and became effective on 14 February 2014.

EU legislation restricted as well the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC entered into force in February 2003. The legislation requires heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) to be substituted by safer alternatives. In December 2008, the European Commission proposed to revise the Directive. The RoHS recast Directive 2011/65/EU became effective on 3 January.


4.      Implementation of the WEEE Directive in the EU

The countries already having WEEE management schemes in place have had great influence in shaping the Directive and, thus, the adaptation of their national legislation to the Directive was easier. The changes requested are generally of a complementary nature and regard issues like individual producer responsibility, labeling of products, financial guarantees needed in order to place a product on the market and collection and recycling targets.


For other countries, which do not have a WEEE culture the situation was/is very different. It is fair to say that they have faced significantly greater problems in developing the required legal and operational infrastructure. Different systems have been developed, trying to apply more market based approaches with multiple providers of take back services, apart from the collective single compliance scheme models being used in the already existing systems.


There are two clear generic categories of national organization, the national collective system (monopoly) and the competitive clearing house system.


The collective system is a dominant national system which is responsible for collection, recycling and financing of all (or the vast majority) of WEEE within national boundaries. This is the general approach in the countries with established WEEE systems. Their legal status differs from country to country, but they are generally nongovernmental, not-for-profit companies which are set up and owned by one or more trade associations. They are organized into product categories in order to focus on achieving maximum efficiency in their recycling operations and to identify markets for recycled material and product reuse.


The clearing house model is again a national framework in which multiple partners (producers, recyclers, and waste organizations) can provide services. The government ensures that there is a register of producers and defines the allocation mechanisms, and reporting and monitoring systems. The responsibilities of a central national coordination body are to determine the collection obligation of each producer (via the national register) and to assign this obligation to the compliance scheme action on behalf of the producer as well as to establish an allocation mechanism that enables compliance systems to indeed collect WEEE in an equitable manner from collection points over the territory.


There are advantages and disadvantages with both systems.


5.      Benchmark WEEE Legislation

5.1.   E-waste Legislation in Romania

WEEE Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC) has been transposed under Romanian law by Government Decision no. 448/2005 and subsequent legislation. Basic principle of the WEEE Directive is that WEEE producers and importers are responsible for the collection, processing and storage of all WEEE. This includes the funding of these activities and is consistent with the extension of the “polluter pays” principle, i.e. the so-called “producer pays”.

The structure of the WEEE Sector has been defined in accordance with the WEEE Directive as represented in figure below. Producers of WEEE can fulfill these obligations either individually or jointly in so-called collective organizations (COs) those are normally established by industry associations as NGOs and non-profit. The services (collection, treatment, etc.) are generally contracted in competition from specialized companies.

Figure 1 The Structure of the WEEE Sector

In Romania, the three existing COs (ROREC, ECO-ICT RECOLAMP) are prevalent organizations in WEEE management, and covers all categories of WEEE.

For funding the management of the historical waste from private households, all three COs have decided to introduce a so-called “visible fee”, i.e. their management costs can be shown separately from the price of production to point of sale.

Emergency Ordinance no. 5/2015 transposes the new Community legislation on the obligation of recycling WEEE put into the market by producers of electrical equipment or by persons performing imports or intra-Community acquisitions of electrical and electronic equipment or appliances. It also amended the new environmental targets for recycling electrical equipment, electronics and the years 2016-2021.

Annual minimum collection rates to be reached by the producers – the annual collection rate expressed in %:

  • -> 40% for 2016
  • 45% for the period 2017-2020
  • 65% since 2021.

The percentages above are calculated as weight kilo quantitative electrical waste recycled in total kilograms equipment put on the market.


The Ordinance provides as well for a list of penalties in case of non-compliance.


5.2.   WEEE Legislation in Turkey

5.3.   WEEE law in Turkey

The Turkish Regulation on the Control of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment was published in the Official Gazette on May 22, 2012. The Regulation defines obligations of industry (producers and importers of EEE), municipalities and public authorities.


Producers (manufacturers and importers) are expected to collect WEEE from collection points and recycle it in proper installations. Producers can do it themselves, however in this case they need to post a financial guarantee (Article 17). They can do this however via Authorized Institutions – non-profit Associations created for that purpose (Article 4w). They are expected to achieve collection levels: 0,3 kg per inhabitant already in 2013, growing to 4 kg/inhabitant in 2018. (Article 15).


Municipalities are expected to open collection centers, starting with biggest municipalities already in 2013. Until 2018 all municipalities in Turkey are supposed to have created the collection centers. (Article 8)


All Authorized Institutions formed by Producers (there could be many) are expected to cooperate in a Coordination Center (Article 22). Coordination Center is expected to allocate waste based on market share of the Authorized Institution, decide on waste pick-ups from municipal collection centers and provide reports to the Government.


5.4.   Benchmark Turkey WEEE Legislation

Whereas very similar to the EU Directives, the Turkish law presents some differences.

  • The definition of EEE is the same in that it is any goods which require a current or electromagnetic fields to function correctly.
  • The restrictions on hazardous substances concentrate on the same six substances as EU RoHS: cadmium, lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The permitted concentration limits are the same too; at 0.1% for each, except cadmium at 0.01%.
  • Product scope also follows EU RoHS exempting categories 8 and 9, medical devices and monitoring and control instruments.
  • Exemptions also appear to be the same but with less detail.
  • Collection targets are set at a kg per person per year for a range of product groups and as a total. The first collection target is set for 2013 at 300g per person total, doubling each year up to 4kg per person by 2018. This will be the equivalent to levels set in Europe until the original WEEE Directive.
  • Recycling facilities will have differing recovery and recycling percentage targets set for them. Tier 1 will start in 2013 with Tier 2 due in 2018.
  • Equipment will use the same crossed wheelie bin label as in the EU.


The situation of WEEE in Turkey is challenging. Turkey will need to deal with complex problems to implement the Directive such as:

  • Turkey has less WEEE in comparison to EU countries
  • Geographic distribution of WEEE is uneven
  • Turkey lacks separate collection infrastructure
  • Turkey lacks proper treatment facilities for cooling and freezing equipment
  • There is a large informal sector dealing with waste
  • Proper collection and treatment of WEEE requires technical & financial capacities the country still lacks
  • REC Turkey estimated that in 2010, Turkish producers put 812.000 tons of EEE on the market through around 20.000 distributors (retailers). Though there are more than a thousand producers (manufacture, rebrand or import), it is estimated that a dozen of them produce 80% of EEE in terms of weight. This EEE creates a huge volume of WEEE. Today, Turkey deals with 539.000 tons of WEEE yearly. Increasing at an average growth per year 5% this should represent 894.000 tons in 2020.
  • REC Turkey estimates that Turkey should establish around 1.850 municipal collection points in order to reach this target. Currently, there is only one operational collection point. In particular, several of the 2950 municipalities will need to establish more than one collection point (though majority could be established jointly).



6.      E-waste Benchmarking

6.1.   Trends in the amount of EEE put on the market and of WEEE collected and treated for the EU in the period from 2007–2012

Figure 2 shows trends in the amount of EEE put on the market and of WEEE collected and treated for the EU in the period from 2007–12.



Figure 2 Trends in the amount of EEE put on the market and of WEEE collected and treated for the EU in the period from 2007–2012 Source:

The amount of EEE put on the market in the period from 2007–2012 shows a mixed trend (increases and decreases) due to many different factors. The separate collection and recovery of WEEE grew steadily over the period from 2007–11, although the pace of the increase slowed year on year. In 2012, 3.6 million tonnes of WEEE were treated, of which 2.6 million tonnes were recovered. The recovered amount included 2.4 million tonnes of recycled WEEE (i.e. reprocessed into a product) and 0.2 million tonnes that was used for energy production


6.2.   Electrical and electronic equipment put on the market by country

Figure 2 shows the composition of EEE (measured in tonnes) put on the market by product category in 2012, reflecting the consumption pattern in the countries shown on the graph.

Figure 3 Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market, by category and country, 2012 (%) Source: Eurostat

Category 1 – large household appliances – were the dominant product category in all the EU Member States followed by category 3 – IT and telecommunication equipment – as the second most important product category in most EU Member States (20 of the 28). Small household appliances (category 2) and consumer equipment (category 4) are ranked third or fourth in terms of quantity in most EU Member States.


6.3.   Collection of WEEE by country

Figure 3 shows the amount of WEEE collected by country in kg/inhabitant for the years 2007 and 2012. The figure illustrates both the level of separate collection in the countries and the progress made between 2007 and 2012. The figure shows the total amount of WEEE collected, i.e. the sum of WEEE collected from households and from other sources.





Figure 4 Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected, by country, 2007 and 2012 (kg per inhabitant) Source: Eurostat

In 2012, the amount of WEEE collected varied considerably across EU Member States, from 1.2  kg/inhabitant in Romania to 17.7 kg/inhabitant in Sweden. Norway presented 20.9 kg/inhabitant. The considerable variation in the amounts collected reflects differences in EEE consumption levels as well as the different performance levels of the waste collection schemes in place.


Figure 5 compares the amount of WEEE collected from households in 2012 with the average amount collected in the previous three years and in relation to the Directive’s collection target of a minimum of 4 kg/inhabitant of WEEE from households to be achieved by all countries in 2009 at the latest (blue line).




Figure 5 The amount of WEEE collected from households in 2012 with the average amount collected in the previous three years and in relation to the Directive’s collection target of a minimum of 4 kg/inhabitant of WEEE from households to be achieved by all countries in 2009 at the latest (blue line).

Altogether, in 2012, 9 EU Member States failed to meet the collection target of 4  kg/inhabitant of WEEE collected from households (Greece, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Romania and Slovakia) of which three (Greece, Italy and Slovakia) were very close to reaching the target (with 3.25, 3.69 and 3.98  kg/inhabitant respectively). In 13 EU Member States the collected amount of WEEE in 2012 increased compared with the average of the amount collected in the previous three years. Of the 15 EU Member States that reported a decrease, five (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Germany and Luxembourg) had already achieved collection rates clearly above the collection target. Spain achieved the target in previous years (2007 and 2008) but fell below the target ever since. Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Romania have not yet succeeded in reaching the 4 kg/inhabitant objective, and of these only Latvia has always had a value under the average of the previous three years.


Part 2 WEEE Management and Treatment


7.      E-waste Inventory

E-waste Inventory is the first step which helps practitioners and decision makers to plan, design and implement WEEE/ E-waste assessment in a city/geographical area and country.

7.1.   Guidance procedure for WEEE/E-waste definition

Step 1: Identify the environmental legislation, where municipal solid waste/ hazardous waste or items related to trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste/ Basel Convention are addressed.

Step 2: Identify the sections and subsections where any item related to electrical and electronic equipment are mentioned.

Step 3: Look for following words in the legislation/ regulation and their definition and interpretation

  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • Electrical Assemblies/ Components/ Products
  • Discarded / Disposal
  • Used Goods/ Scrap/ Waste
  • Recycle/ Reuse
  • Treatment

Step 4: Prepare WEEE/E-waste definition reference matrix with respect to three major pointers like definition of “electrical and electronic equipment”, ‘loss of utility” and “way of disposal”.



Table 1 WEEE/E-waste definition reference matrix

In case of “Yes” specify the reference, its coverage and application in domestic and transboundary trade.

Step 5: In case WEEE/E-waste is mentioned either directly or indirectly in any regulation, specify roles and responsibility of following stakeholders

  • Generator/ Producer
  • Exporter/ Importer
  • Collector / Transporter
  • Waste Treatment Operator
  • Regulatory Agencies (Local/ National)

Step 6: Identify the gaps from the matrix and recommend tentative content, extent and coverage of WEEE/E-waste definition.

7.2.   Assessment of WEEE/ E-waste Market

7.2.1. WEEE/ E-waste as a Tradable Commodity

WEEE/E-waste as a tradable commodity may be described in terms of components, which contain items of economic value. At first WEEE/E-waste is classified into 26 components forming “building blocks”, which are easily “identifiable” and “removable”, followed by description of elements for material recovery and their respective hazardousness. These commodities are refrigerator, washing machine representing “household’s appliances”, personal computer, monitor, laptop and cellular telephone representing “IT and Telecom equipment” and television representing “consumer equipment” as per Annex 1 B, EU Directive.

7.2.2. WEEE/ E-waste Composition, Recyclability and Hazardousness

Composition of WEEE/ E-waste components is very diverse and may contain more than 1000 different substances, which fall under “hazardous” and “non-hazardous” categories. Broadly, it consists of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood and plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete and ceramics, rubber and other items. Iron and steel constitutes about 50% of the WEEE/ E-waste followed by plastics (21%), non – ferrous metals (13%) and other constituents. Non-ferrous metals consist of metals like copper, aluminium and precious metals ex. silver, gold, platinum, palladium etc. The presence of elements like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, hexavalent chromium and flame retardants in WEEE/ E-waste and their components beyond threshold quantities as mentioned in Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and regulations related to hazardous waste of different countries, classifies them as hazardous waste. The presence of elements of economic value in WEEE/ E-waste and their recovery potential makes it a source of “secondary raw material” and a “tradable commodity”.

7.2.3. Mechanism of WEEE/ E-waste Trade

Mechanism of WEEE/E-waste trade can be explained in terms of three elements. These are

  1. Material Flow
  2. Life Cycle
  3. Geographical Boundary

“Material Flow” along the “Life Cycle” of electrical and electronic equipment including the phase of obsolescence within a “Geographical Boundary” forms the basis of WEEE/ E-waste generation in cities/ countries.             Conceptual Life Cycle of Electrical and Electronic Equipment

The establishment of material flow within a geographical boundary assists in identifying, networks/ chain connecting different phases of life cycle of electrical and electronic equipment and associated stakeholders. Once the chain gets established, “material flow balance” e.g. Input/ output balances in each phase forms the basis of quantification of WEEE/E-waste in the life cycle analysis of electrical and electronic equipment. WEEE/E-waste quantification (inventory) in a city/region forms the basis of WEEE/E-waste management and starts from the stage shown by blue line in figure 6.

Figure 6 Conceptual Life Cycle of Electrical and Electronic Equipment             WEEE/ E-waste Material Flow Model

WEEE/E-waste material flow model describes various phases of its management. As an example, the WEEE/E-waste material flow model developed by “European Topic Centre on Waste” is described below and shown in Figure 8, to help to develop a conceptual understanding of WEEE material flow. The features of this model are:

  1. The model is based on the “unit process approach”, where a unit process represents processes or activities.
  2. The material flow model considers all unit processes and flows within a defined boundary. Arrows indicate the flow of material linking the unit processes.
  3. There are two different kinds of unit processes. Type 1 receives material without any alteration, where there are no conversions. Therefore, input is equal to output for instance use and collection of electrical and electronic equipment. In Type 2, a conversion of materials takes place, thus creating new materials (products, waste, etc.) e.g. treatment of WEEE/ E-waste including dismantling/ incineration/ smelting etc.

Figure 7 Unit process approach


  1. The boundary is the interface between the existing system and the external environment or other systems

Figure 8 Conceptual WEEE/ E-waste Material Flow Model

The material flow model, when applied to “life cycle” of electrical and electronic equipment leads to evolution of the ‘Four-Phase-Model’, where each phase describes respective unit operations and different stakeholders. The four phase model has been shown in figure 8.


8.      E-waste Management

8.1.   Components of WEEE/E-waste Management

Phase III and Phase IV of the material flow model define the three major components of WEEE/E-waste management systems. These are:

  1. WEEE/E-waste collection, sorting and transportation system
  2. WEEE/E-waste treatment system
  3. WEEE/E-waste disposal system.


WEEE/E-waste collection system consists of producer/ retailer take back system, municipal collection system and recycler’s/ dismantler’s collection system as shown in figure 9. Since WEEE/E-waste is hazardous in nature, it is collected, sorted, stored and transported under controlled conditions. Each of the agencies has its own WEEE/E-waste collection and storage centers. The collection means will vary, following distances, rural or urban patterns, and the size of collected appliances. Some categories will require specific collection routes like flatbed collection (for fridges and other reusable household appliances).

An efficient WEEE/ E-waste collection and transportation system will ensure reuse, recycle and adequate WEEE/ E-waste management including avoiding damage or breaking components that contain hazardous substances. The major factors, which determine the efficiency of collection system, are given below.

  • accessible and efficient collection facilities
  • ensure minimal movements of products
  • minimize manual handling
  • aim to remove hazardous substances
  • separate reusable appliances
  • adequate and consistent information to the users

According to available literature, in EU, WEEE/E-waste in general is being sorted/ separated into five groups as given below depending on different material composition and treatment categories. This facilitates efficient collection, recycling and data monitoring for compliance.

  1. Refrigeration equipment —Due to ODS usage, this has to be separated from other WEEE/ E-waste
  2. Other large household appliances — because of their shredding with end-of-life vehicles and other light iron, they need to be separated from other waste
  3. Equipment containing CRTs —the CRTs need to remain intact because of health and safety reasons. Therefore, TVs and computer monitors will have to be collected separately from other waste and handled carefully
  4. Lighting (linear and compact fluorescent tubes) — this needs to be deposited in a special container (due to Mercury) to ensure it does not contaminate other waste and that it can be recycled
  5. All other WEEE — This equipment can be collected in the same container because there are no recycling or health and safety reasons

Figure 9 WEEE/E-waste collection system consists of producer/ retailer take back system, municipal collection system and recycler’s/ dismantler’s collection system

Generic WEEE/E-waste treatment and disposal system is described in Phase IV and shown in figure 9. The major WEEE/ E-waste treatment techniques are decontamination and disassembly or repair followed by shredding of different fractions. WEEE/E-waste fractions emitted after shredding go for metal recovery. The remaining of WEEE/E-waste fractions are disposed of either in landfills or incinerated.


8.2.   Technologies for WEEE/E-waste Management

8.3.   Collection systems

WEEE/ E-waste collection systems have been described in terms of WEEE/E-waste collection channels and infrastructure required to make these channels operational.

8.3.1.     Collection Channels             Retailer Take Back and Storage

In this collection mechanism, consumers can take back WEEE/ E-waste to retail stores that distribute similar products. They may give back the product at the retail store depending upon purchase of a new product, or without any purchase required, and is sometimes done at the point of home delivery and installation of a new item by the retailer/distributor. Where available, this service is usually free to private households.             Producer Take Back and Storage

In this collection mechanism, WEEE/ E-waste is taken back directly by producers either directly at their facilities or designing collection centers and then fed into the WEEE/ E-waste system. This usually applies to larger commercial equipment and operates on the principle of “new equipment replacing the old ones”.             Municipal Collection and Storage

In this collection mechanism, consumers and/or businesses can leave WEEE/E-waste at municipal sites. A number of sorting containers and/or pallets are provided at their collection site according to the product scope and logistical arrangements with recyclers and transporters. This collection mechanism is usually free for household WEEE/ E-waste, although charges sometimes apply for commercial companies.             Other Collection Points

Consumers and or businesses can leave/drop off WEEE/E-waste at specially created sites/centers. These can be specialized sorting centers controlled by the collective system or more commonly third party sites, whose operators may be remunerated for the provision of space. A number of sorting containers and/or pallets are provided according to the product scope and logistical arrangements with recyclers and transporters. This is usually free for household WEEE/E-waste, but sometimes charges apply for commercial products.

8.3.2.     Collection Infrastructure

Collection infrastructure requires establishment of WEEE/E-waste collection points and storage area in a city/ geographical region. The following features mentioned in WEEE EU directive provide guidance on a conceptual approach for establishing collection points and storage areas:

  1. Appropriate measures should be adopted to minimize the disposal of WEEE/E-waste as unsorted municipal waste and to achieve a high level of separate collection of WEEE/E-waste.
  2. Availability and accessibility of the necessary collection facilities should be ensured taking into account in particular the population density.
  3. The collection and transport of separately collected WEEE/ E-waste shall be carried out in a way, which optimizes reuse and recycling of those components or whole appliances capable of being reused or recycled.
  4. Ensure that a rate of separate collection of at least four kilograms on average per inhabitant per year of WEEE/ E-waste from private household is achieved.
  5. Private households not to dispose of WEEE/ E-waste as unsorted municipal waste and to collect such WEEE/ E-waste separately.
  6. Sites for storage (including temporary storage) of WEEE/E-waste prior to their treatment should have impermeable surface for appropriate areas with the provision of spillage collection facilities and where appropriate, decanters and cleanser-degreasers.
  7. Sites for storage (including temporary storage) of WEEE/E-waste prior to their treatment should have weatherproof covering for appropriate areas.

9.      WEEE/ E-waste Treatment Systems

The major options for disposal of WEEE/E-waste in the absence of any treatment option are landfilling and incineration. However, the presence of hazardous elements and compounds in WEEE/E-waste offers the potential of increasing the intensity of their discharge in environment due to landfilling and incineration. Therefore, the major approach to treat WEEE/ E-waste is to first reduce the concentration of these hazardous chemicals and elements through decontamination/ dismantling, recycling and recovery of items of economic value and finally dispose WEEE/E-waste fractions through either incineration or landfilling or a combination of both.

The WEEE/ E-waste treatment options include the following unit operations.

  • Decontamination/ Dismantling: Decontamination/ Dismantling is done manually. It includes the following steps.
    • Removal of parts containing hazardous/ dangerous substances (CFCs, Hg switches, PCB).
    • Removal of easily accessible parts containing valuable substances (cable containing copper, steel, iron, precious metal containing parts, e.g. contacts)
    • Segregation of hazardous/ dangerous substance and removal of easily accessible parts
  • Segregation of ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal and plastic: This separation is generally carried out after shredding and followed by mechanical and magnetic separation process.
  • Recycling/recovery of valuable materials: WEEE/E-waste fractions after segregation consisting of ferrous and non-ferrous metals are further treated. Ferrous metals are smelted in electrical arc furnaces, non-ferrous metals and precious metals are smelted in smelting plants.
  • Treatment/disposal of dangerous materials and waste: Shredder light fraction is disposed of in landfill sites or sometimes incinerated, CFCs are treated thermally, Poly Chlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) is incinerated or disposed of in underground storages, Mercury (Hg) is often recycled or disposed of in underground landfill sites.

9.1.   WEEE/ E-waste Treatment Technology

The simplified flow diagram for WEEE/E-waste treatment is given in figure 9. It starts from product collection followed by product testing in order to sort reusable and non-reusable WEEE/E-waste separately. Non-reusable WEEE/E-waste is disassembled and WEEE/E-waste fractions are sorted into reusable and non-reusable parts. Non-reusable WEEE/E-waste parts undergo size reduction, separation and recovery of different materials, while the remaining WEEE/E-waste fractions are disposed.

The treatment system is used at three levels:

  1. First level treatment
  2. Second level treatment
  3. Third level treatment

All the three levels of WEEE/ E-waste treatment systems are based on material flow. The material flows from first level to third level treatment. Each level treatment consists of unit operations, where E-waste is treated and output of first level treatment serves as input to second level treatment. After the third level treatment, the residues are disposed of either in hazardous waste landfill or incinerated. The efficiency of operations at first and second level determines the quantity of residues going to hazardous waste landfill site or incineration. Most of the E-waste treatment facilities in other countries consist of first and second level treatment at one place, while third level treatment is geographically located at other place.

9.1.1. First Level WEEE/E-waste Treatment

Input: E-waste items like TV, refrigerator and Personal Computers (PC)

Unit Operations: Following three unit operations occur at first level of treatment

  1. Removal of all liquids and Gases
  2. Dismantling (manual)
  3. Segregation


All the three unit operations are dry processes, which do not require use of water. The first step is to decontaminate E-waste and render it non-hazardous. This involves removal of all types of liquids and gases (if any) under negative pressure, and their recovery and storage. Further, all other hazardous WEEE/ E-waste residues are dismantled and segregated. These segregated hazardous WEEE/ E-waste fractions are then sent for third level treatment.


  1. Segregated hazardous wastes like CFC, Mercury (Hg) Switches, CRT, batteries and capacitors
  2. Decontaminated E-waste consisting of segregated non-hazardous E-waste like plastic, circuit board and cables.


9.1.2. Second Level WEEE/E-waste Treatment

Input: Decontaminated E-waste consisting segregated non-hazardous E-waste like plastic, circuit board and cables.

Unit Operations: There are three unit operations at second level of E-waste treatment

  1. Hammering
  2. Shredding
  3. Special treatment processes

Special treatment processes are given below.

  1. CRT treatment consisting of separation of funnels and screen glass.
  2. Electromagnetic separation
  3. Eddy current separation
  4. Density separation using air or water.


The two major unit operations are hammering and shredding. The major objective of these two unit operations is size reduction. The third unit operation consists of special treatment processes. Electromagnetic and eddy current separation utilizes properties of different elements like electrical conductivity, magnetic properties and density to separate ferrous, non-ferrous metal and precious metal fractions. Plastic fractions consisting of sorted plastic after first level treatment, plastic mixture and plastic with flame retardants after second level treatment, glass and lead are separated during this treatment. The efficiency of this treatment determines the recovery rate of metal and segregated WEEE/ E-waste fractions for third level treatment.

Output: Output from the second level treatment technology is given below.

  1. Ferrous metal scrap (secondary raw material)
  2. Non-ferrous metal scrap mainly copper and aluminum
  3. Precious metal scrap mainly silver, gold, palladium
  4. Plastic consisting of sorted plastic, plastic with flame retardants and plastic mixture.

9.1.3.  3rd Level WEEE/E-waste Treatment

Table 2 Input/Output and unit operation for third level treatment of E-waste


10. EWM Best practices worldwide

10.1.                   Benchmark WEEE systems in Europe

The study[3] contains a high level summary of different aspects of the various collection models adopted in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, the UK and Germany.


Figure 10 Summary of different aspects of the various collection models

adopted in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, the UK and Germany

The figure below gives an overview of the activities that are financed by producers and importers as part of their local legal obligation for the different countries that were investigated. In Belgium, The Netherlands and France, producers finance the entire chain of activities. A dense collection network is in place (collection from municipalities, retailers,…) and the total chain from collection to treatment is managed, controlled and financed by the collective collection schemes (= producers and importers). The system in the UK operates differently. The vast majority of the WEEE is collected via municipalities (obligation to collect in shops is redeemed via funding the Distributor Takeback Scheme so retailers can refer their customers to the municipalities), so the network is less dense than in BeNeFra. The most relevant difference between the UK and BeNeFra however is related to the guaranteed quality for treatment. The ‘evidence note’ concept results in a situation whereby every collective system has to buy evidence notes and has no control over the physical flow of the volumes. In this way, a lot of the volume is (probably) treated at quality standards and costs well below BeNeFra standards. This system, in combination with a  less strict audit concept results in a situation whereby the overall cost for the WEEE collection and treatment in the UK is (probably) lower than the cost in Belgium, The Netherlands and France, but with absolutely no guarantee towards quality or place of actual physical treatment (e.g. high risk of ‘leakage’). In Germany, the collection network is much less dense, as there is no obligation to collect at retail shops. All activities prior in the supply chain (collection, sorting and transhipment) are financed by the municipalities due to German legal obligations. Therefore, only two activities remain within the financial responsibility of the producers and importers: bulk transport and treatment. Cost levels for bulk transport are comparable with BeNeFra. However, for the treatment of German volumes, treatment facilities and methods are chosen with best price as the main criterion which results in a significant lower treatment quality compared to BeNeFra as well as no assurance of downstream treatment and trade.

The ‘like for like’ treatment costs are at the same level among the different investigated countries. In the UK and Germany cheaper options are available which result in a lower treatment quality without assurance on the downstream treatment.

The costs for bulk transport of the WEEE from collection points to treatment facilities do not show major differences when adjusted for local price indexes.

The costs of other activities such as compensation of collection points, dense WEEE collection, sorting and transhipment cannot be compared due to differences in the applicable standards, responsibilities and underlying cost/compensation structures.

Figure 11 Collected volume per country

The collected volume per country is shown. This involves the volume that is officially collected under the control of producers and importers. In the United Kingdom this is labelled as obligated WEEE, in Germany we report the volume registered through EAR. Belgium is ahead of the group with 10,2 kg per inhabitant and Germany has the lowest collection rate.

Figure 12 Collection rate per country

The collection rate per country is given per treatment stream.

LHA – Large Household Appliances

SHA – Small Household Appliances

CFA – Cooling and Freezing Appliances

The high collection volume of Belgium can be attributed to the significant higher SHA stream which in turn may be explained by the weight related charge for regular household waste in combination with a dense network of municipalities. Germany lacks a significant amount of LHA which can be explained by the fact that this stream generates a net profit (the material yields are higher than the treatment costs). This means that the LHA is traded directly by the municipalities without interference of the producers.

Figure 13 Recycling results

A comparison can be made between the material recycling (excluding and including energy recovery) figures of the different countries for every treatment stream. Figures for the United Kingdom and Germany are not available.  The figures below are the audited recycling results of 2011 as reported by the compliance schemes. It is noted that these results are dependent on the number of treatment steps taken into and the used treatment techniques. Differences in the depth of the batches may result in differences in the recycling results. Also, the definition of ‘material recovery’ and ‘energy recovery’ may deviate between the investigated countries.

Figure 14 Compliance scheme

The WEEE directive determines that producers and importers are responsible for End-of-Life Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Although in most countries they are allowed to organize the necessary activities themselves, a lot of producers and importers throughout the different countries in Europe are grouped into compliance schemes which organize and coordinate the collection and treatment of WEEE on behalf of them. According to the legislation, different forms and number of compliance schemes are present in Europe. An overview is given below.

10.2.                   Benchmark WEEE system in Romania

If in terms of treatment and recovery Romania complies with the standards imposed by both EU WEEE Directive (Directive 2002/96/EC and Directive 2012/19/EU), the WEEE regulations concerning the collection represent a threat, but also an important challenge for the WEEE management system in Romania.

Regarding the Romanian effort for WEEE collection and treatment, it is important to mention the most significant company specialized for these services: GreenWEEE International. This company is located in Buzau County (approximately 120 km far from Bucharest) and it started the activity in 2009. The company has the largest capacity in Romania for collecting and processing of the WEEE, 50.000 tonnes of WEEE per year, with an initial investment of 10 million euro. (

For a comparative analysis in the European context, the amount of EEE put on the Romanian market – total by years (2006-2012) and for the 10 categories of EEE – is available on the Eurostat (2015) website.

The distribution of the amount of WEEE collected on the Romanian market – by years (2006-2013) and for the 10 categories of EEE – is available on the ANPM (2015) website, while the EU annual collecting target of 4 kg/capita was not achieved in Romania. At national level, regarding the annual collection rate, a number of exemptions from the Directive 2012/19/EU may be applied until, at the latest, 14 August 2021 (Directive 2012/19/EU, Art. 7)

The total amount of treated WEEE is a sum aggregated from the following three elements: WEEE treated in the respective EU member state, WEEE treated in another EU member state and WEEE treated outside EU. For Romania, different data series are available on the Eurostat (2015) website: amount of WEEE treated in the member state, total by years (2006-2012) and for the 10 EEE categories; amount of WEEE treated in another EU member state; amount of WEEE treated outside EU; amount of reused WEEE; amount of recovered WEEE; total amount of recycled and reused WEEE.

According to the opinion of the experts, there are no “real” recyclers of WEEE in Romania, and this category of economic operators could be divided by the type of developed activities: collection, treatment, collection of fractions resulted from treatment, recycling of fractions of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, disposal of fractions with hazardous content. Thus, by “recyclers” one may refer to “economic operators involved in WEEE management” or “economic operators involved in WEEE treatment”.

About the “Romanian consumer” – The amount of EEE placed on the domestic market, although in an obvious continuous growth, for various reasons, primarily due to the economic condition of the large part of the population, is small compared to countries in the European Community; thus in 2001 the total amount of EEE placed on the market was about 5.5 kg/capita,  in 2002 to about 6.5 kg/capita, and 7.5 kg/capita in 2003 (National Institute of Statistics); in 2001 the total amount of EEE existing in households was 25-30 kg/capita (NIS), much less than the endowment of the population in EU countries. The average useful life of most EEE as declared by producers is 8 -10 years (max 12 years), in Romania, due to the economic reasons (poverty) and “tradition”, EEE are used well above useful life declared by the producer. Considering that the EEE endowment of Romanian population would be 30kg EEE/capita (the maximum possible according to estimates based on national statistics) and allowing for the Romanian consumer the “almost normal” behavior (utilizing EEE just as long as recommended by producers), the amount of WEEE collected from households would be 3.75 kg of WEEE/inhabitant per year. In order to reach the EU negotiated collection targets the Romanian consumers should collect more E-waste than it has been throw.

Nowadays in Romania, as in other European countries, producers of EEE were grouped in collective organizations. Three collective organizations are grafted on three categories of EEE, namely: 1) IT&C “gray products”, 2) household – “white and brown products” and 3) lamps. These are the followings:

  • IT & C “gray products” – ECO ICT ( takes over the responsibilities of manufacturers/importers for collection and recycling of WEEE type IT&C in accordance with European Directive 2002/96 / EC and GD 440/2005.

Acting as an interface between consumers on the one hand, and collectors and recyclers, on the other hand, ECO ICT has the following objectives:

  • to collect revenues from producers and importers in change for collection and recycling;
  • to conclude contracts with collectors, recyclers, transporters;
  • to supervise the market to make it fair for all market players;
  • to conduct market research and determine the necessary funds to cover the costs of collection, recycling, logistics and education of the population – regularly report to the Minister of Environment.

ECO ICT Association has 32 founding companies and is managed by a Board of Directors composed of representatives of the following companies: Trend Import Export, Gemini SP, Tornado Sistems, Flamingo Computers, Caro Group, Ktech Electronics. It has been constituted by APDETIC – Association of Producers and Distributors of Equipment for Information Technology and Communications. APDETIC aims to represent the interests of manufacturers and distributors of EEE.

  • “White and brown goods” – CECED Romania. It is affiliated to the European CECED. It brings together several major companies, such as: ARCTIC, Electrolux, Bosch Siemens, Indesit, Candy, Amica, Philips, Gorenje, Franke.
  • “Lamps” PHILIPS Romania. As a member of the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors of Electric Lights, PHILIPS Romania founded his own collective organization (ELC Lamps).

Directives 2002/96/EC and 2003/108/EC were transposed into Romanian legislation by GD 448/2005, published in June 2005, which aims the prevention of WEEE and the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery, so as to reduce the disposal of waste. GD. 448/2005 comprises the following main provisions:

  • Manufacturers will introduce in manufacturing EEE dismantling and recovery enabling components; manufacturers will also provide opportunities for reuse and recycling of WEEE, their components and materials (art. 4 (1));
  • Local public administration authorities have the obligation to separately collect WEEE from private households and to provide the producers the places for their selective collection points (art. 5 (1));
  • In order to selective collection of WEEE from private households, up to 31 December 2005 manufacturers must ensure the establishment of at least (Art. 5 (3)):
    • 1 collection point in each county;
    • 1 collection point in each city with over 100,000 inhabitants;
    • 6 collection point in Bucharest.
    • Until 31 December 2006, manufacturers will establish at least one collection point in every town with over 20,000 residents.

The current technical state of local infrastructure in the localities sanitation sector is differentiated between urban and rural area. A percentage of 31% of the population lives in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Near 6.2 million people live in small localities inhabited by up to approximately 5,000 inhabitants, representing 27% of the total population. Of the 13,357 existing locations in Romania, only approx. 500 have organized systems for collection, transport and disposal of household waste.


The costs of WEEE management in €/kg and in €/pcs in the European average as well as in comparison to the Romania visible fees are in the following ranges.

Table 3 Comparison of WEEE Costs in Europe with Romanian Visible Fees

The data show that there are significant cost variations between the minimum and maximum values. In comparison with the European countries included into the survey the Romanian visible fees generally seem to be rather higher than the average of the survey. However, currently the quantities in Romania are low and the startup costs in the surveyed schemes in other European countries have mostly already been paid off, Hence, even though some cost components (such as labor costs) might be relatively low in Romania, there are valid reasons for the costs being at the higher end of the ranges.

Applying a usual composition of WEEE and the above stated average costs [€/kg] the total commercial value as a function of the collection per inhabitant results as follows:

Table 4 Commercial Value of the WEEE Sector

In case of 1 kg/cap/year the total volume would amount to approximately 7.7 million € whereas in case of 5 kg/cap/year the volume would rise between 38 and 40 million €.


  • The Romanian E-waste legislation is euro-conform – It has been adopted a series of laws that regulate the activity of management of WEEE, from their production until the treatment and disposal.
  • The current legislation provides obligations for the actors involved in E-waste management namely for producers and collective organizations.
  • Visible fee will be attached to the product price and is calculated based on the weight of electrical and electronic equipment. The highest fees, not exceeding 21 Euro, to be applied in the segment of white appliances, especially refrigerators and air conditioners, while for the IT&C will pay a maximum of 7 Euro. Ecological fee will be visible to consumers being clearly stated on the invoice of each new product.
  • Additional costs will be borne by the buyers and will be used by importers or retailers to cover the costs of collection, transportation and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment. This fee is basically the price paid by consumers for recycling old electrical goods and appliances and will be separately identified in the total cost of the product. Visible fee assumes the total cost of collection, recycling and awareness raising.
  • The economic sector of waste treatment and recycling has a great potential to contribute to job creation and investment recovery through an integrated approach at national level, taking into account an increase in the rate of absorption of European funds allocated to environmental investments.
  • The revisions of national and European legislation regarding WEEE represent a factor that may reinforce the interest for WEEE recycling in Romania.
  • Considerations regarding Quantity Targets and Fining
    • Generally, the enforcement of quantitative targets is considered recommendable for the implementation of WEEE management systems. Only quantitative targets can motivate EEE producers to effectively collect WEEE individually or to join Collective Organizations.
    • Effectively the whole EU E-waste legislation and targets have been determined with regard to experiences from functioning WEEE management systems in countries with tradition. This is considered recommendable since unpredictable factors such as, willingness of the population to provide WEEE, the existence or the lack of municipal collection points, the informal sector, etc. have an important impact on the WEEE quantities that can be expected to be received.
    • In Romania as in many other emergent countries the above mentioned uncertainties are effective. As a consequence in the implementation phase of the WEEE management, specialists do not consider recommendable enforcing quantitative targets by fining in case that potentially set quantitative targets are not met.
    • In later stages fines could be implemented based on collection targets and reported quantities. The level of the fines shall then be higher than the costs avoided by non-performance; in this context it should also be considered that some cases of non-performance will not be discovered and certain deterrence should be reached by the definition of fines.


10.3.                   Siemens/Fujitsu, Germany

The remarketing, reuse and recycling of Fujitsu Siemens Computers products have taken place at the company’s Paderborn, Germany facility since 1988. At Paderborn, approximately 20 percent of Fujitsu Siemens Computers-branded equipment is reused and, currently, only two percent is disposed. The processes employed by Paderborn far exceed the requirements set out in the WEEE Directive. Although recycled plastic is not used in their products, the products recycled, such as plastic casing, can be used to create new, high-quality products.

Position on Individual Producer Responsibility: Fujitsu Siemens Computers supports the principle of Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) and recognizes that increasing amounts of end-of-life products, if not properly disposed of, pose a significant threat to the environment.

10.4.                   Sharp UK

Since the 1990s, Sharp has launched a “Super Green Strategy” which aims at establishing an environmentally sustainable domestic and overseas manufacturing system. The initiatives look at every aspect of the manufacturing processes, from extracting natural resources to the end product and its disposal.

All aspects are continually monitored, controlled and scored against stringent environmental performance objectives under the initiative. Factories have to achieve exceptionally high scores to gain the internal award of “Super Green” status.

Figure 15 Sharp Super Green Strategy








10.5.                   Social Enterprises for better and sustainable WEEE Recycling, Austria

WEEE recycling has not only advantages for the environment but also social potential. In the model of the “Social Market Economy” goods and services will be provided outside the market system. It may serve as a separate (third) economic sector between the state and the market. In Austria several social enterprises were established in this scheme with a focus on WEE treatment. The initiatives aim at treating several problems at once:

  1. They are creating temporary job contracts for long term- unemployed or disabled persons and help to empower these persons in finding a permanent employment in the primary job market through personal support and career development.
  2. The initiatives help the involved persons to avoid social exclusion and support them to develop creative potentials.
  3. These social enterprises have certified WEEE treatment plants for used or broken Electric Equipment. This will be repaired or dismantled depending on the conditions and prepared for second-hand-articles or spare-parts or recycling products or recyclable parts.

10.6.                   Matsushita Electric (Lytle, 2003)

Matsushita Electric, best known for its Panasonic brand, set up an advanced recycling plant in the Western Japanese town of Yashiro for the recycling of 4 main home appliances, i.e. refrigerator, washing machine, television and air conditioners. The Matsushita Eco-Technology Center, (Metec), came into being after the Japanese Government passed tough recycling measures that came into effect in 2001. The company had the recycling plant ready by the time the legislation came into being.

A local consultation group was set up for Matsushita to demonstrate that its closed-loop water system would not pollute the environment or that delivery trucks would not keep residents awake at night. The local consultation group still meets roughly quarterly in order to discuss the current situation.

In the first year of operation, the plant handled over half a million TVs, air-conditioners, washing machines and refrigerator and is currently running at 10% to 15% above the rate required by law.

The key to the success of the recycling plant is the division of waste into different waste streams. Each unit is taken apart, either by hand as in the case of the TVs, or by brute force as with the washing machines. The parts are then separated out. Glass in television sets is carefully dissected with Matsushita’s own breed of cutter to keep the toxic leaded glass in the rear portion away from the safer glass in the screen. The result in two kinds of glass that end up in new TVs. Separating the different parts of a washing machine requires a complex arrangement of magnets and wind blowers to produce cleanly divided waste. Different colors of polypropylene plastic tend to end up together in a muddy-colored mix, which the company uses in ‘nonaesthetic’ components that remain out of sight in new machines. All washing machines contain a balancing component filled with salt water to keep them on an even keel while spinning. This, too, is recovered to prevent it from leaking and causing steel to rust before it can be removed. Similarly meticulous techniques are employed on fridges and air-conditioners.

10.7.                   Mitsubishi Electric – Recycling Household Appliances Plastic

Mitsubishi Electric has developed an original mixed-plastic separation and recovery technology for its household appliance products (i.e. recycling of materials from old appliances into new appliances). Unlike the past, where it was difficult to recycle plastic from scrapped appliances, the new technology makes it possible to automatically extract relatively pure propylene from recovered mixed-plastic material and recycle it into new appliances.

Since the introduction of the new technology, Mitsubishi Electric’s recycling facilities have achieved a 73% average rate of recovery and recycling in 2003 for four types of appliances in Japan.

In 1999, Mitsubishi Electric completed the industry’s first appliance recycling plant. From the beginning, efforts were made to recycle plastics, and to this end, the original pulverizing technology was capable of creating rough plastic that could be recycled in certain products for which downgraded plastic was sufficient. Downgraded plastic, which is a mixture of more than one type of plastic, was not suitable for home appliances, however, and the next aim was to obtain a more refined recycled plastic that could be used in home appliance production. The technology developed to achieve that goal extracts propylene, which is commonly used in appliances, from the plastic mixture. It does so automatically and to a high degree of purity, resulting in material that meets the standards for application in home appliances.

The company’s next focus is on developing technology to automatically extract relatively pure polystyrene and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), with the aim of eventually achieving 100% recycling of plastic material.

10.8.                   ICT Milieu – Denmark

ICT Milieu was founded in 2001 and looks after the environmental interests of businesses within the ICT sector. It takes as much work as possible off the hands of its participants in terms of compliance with environmental regulations. It also acts as the voice of the ICT sector when it comes to environmental issues. In 2012, ICT Milieu became part of the Vereniging NVMP (translated: Dutch Removal Metal Electro Products).

ICT Milieu:

  • commissions the ICT collection system, which is executed by Wecycle;
  • closely follows developments in the area of ICT and the environment;
  • maintains contact with the government, politicians, other trade organizations, social organizations, the press and national and international advisors;
  • promotes mutual contact and the exchange of knowledge through meetings.


10.9.                   El Kretsen – Sweden


El-Kretsen is the business sectors service company for collection and recycling of electrical and electronic products. El-Kretsen offers a nationwide recycling system with approximately 1000 collection sites. The system covers all of the product groups subject to the legislation and provides good service to those discarding old products. Together our affiliated customers represent almost the entire Swedish market for new electrical and electronical products and portable batteries.

10.10.               Recupel – Belgium

RECUPEL is the Belgian WEEE system in charge of take-back obligations for producers and importers of electric/electronic products on the Belgian market. Recupel was launched in Belgium in 2001, well ahead of August 13, 2005 mandatory EU implementation date, and was one of the first such organizations to become operational in Europe.

Figure 16 Recupel – Belgium                                                            Figure 17 Recupel – Belgium – Recycling objectives

Collection and transport targets







10.11.               El-Retur – Norway

Elretur AS is a nationwide take-back company for the collection, recycling and environmentally sound processing of scrapped electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The scheme is based on the authorities’ “Regulations regarding scrapped electrical and electronic products” (EE Regulations). These regulations make producers and importers in Norway responsible for the environmentally sound processing of scrapped products.  The sector’s largest trade associations have assumed responsibility for the establishment of a nationwide take-back scheme through an agreement between the organizations and the Ministry of the Environment. Elretur was established to ensure the best possible practical implementation of this agreement. The Sector Agreement contains a collection target of 80%.

10.12.               SWICO – Switzerland

Swico Recycling is a national, not-for-profit system for taking back discarded electronic and electrical equipment used in the areas Informatics, Consumer Electronics, Office, Communications, Graphics Industry and Measurement and Medicine Technology. It is operated by Swico, the Swiss Economic Association for the Suppliers of Information, Communication and Organizational Technology.

As per 30 September 2014, Swico Recycling had 500 Convention signatories (manufacturers and importers) from Switzerland and abroad who cover more than 90% of the Swiss market. This ensures that discarded products are taken back via the trade and collection points, and are recycled appropriately.

11. Raising awareness for the people

The EU environmental legislation, Chapter 22 of the Acquis Communautaire, sets among others the general principles of waste management: the principle of protecting the primary resources; the principle of preliminary measures; the principle of prevention; the polluter pays principle correlated with the principle of responsibility for producers and users; the substitution principle; correlated with the proximity principle, the principle of autonomy; the principle of subsidiarity; principle of integration. These principles are formulated in context of the concept of sustainable development. Therefore, sustainable waste management should mean the kind of management which is environmentally efficient, economic feasible, and socially acceptable.


Many studies revealed that in Romania similar to other emergent countries the general population’s perception of unused electronics – whether or not they consider it to be a form of waste – is still unclear. In consequence an assessment of public awareness at the level of the individual is vital to understanding what is missing from management strategies, and to understanding the public’s behavior toward e-waste. Indeed, building public awareness will be key to active and effective participation in e-waste systems. Awareness is also necessary if Romania hopes to have active consumers who will demand more responsibility from electronics producers and more action from policymakers. The means and technics for advertising campaigns and public awareness campaigns are well-known. Publicity actions will include the following: preparing children in schools and kindergartens; articles in local press; specialized brochures distributed to citizens; programs on local radio and television; billboards. There are available some cost estimations. These costs were estimated to be worth 3.5 million lei (near 1 million EUR). The activities of advertising and public awareness on the importance of collection of WEEE will be coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Water Management, local councils, and by three collective organizations specializing in recycling. Costs of advertising and awareness raising of the population will be covered mostly by the major manufacturers marketing budgets.


12. Conclusions

  • The production of electrical and electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing global manufacturing activities. Rapid economic growth, coupled with urbanization and a growing demand for consumer goods, has increased both the consumption and the production of EEE.
  • This hypertechnology that is addressed as a ‘crucial vector’ for future modern societal development has a not-so-modern downside to it: electronic waste (e-waste).
  • The increasing ‘market penetration’ in the developing countries, ‘replacement market’ in the developed countries and ‘high obsolescence rate’ make e-waste one of the fastest waste streams. This new kind of waste is posing a serious challenge in disposal and recycling to both developed and developing countries.
  • All this has made e-waste management an issue of environment and health concern.
  • In spite of this shared understanding, responsible e-waste management never occurs “spontaneously” due to a variety of inherent or arbitrary social, economic, political barriers.
  • Therefore, in stimulating e-waste management improvement, lowering, even eliminating barriers the public sector is requested to play an important role.
  • This can be done using policy instruments like regulatory instruments (standards, obligations), financial incentives (subsides, tax incentives, loan facilities), market-based instruments as well as “information-based” instruments (raising awareness, training, capacity building, R&D).
  • Substantial international efforts have been undertaken and still exist to develop responsible e-waste management methods and procedures, and to draw lessons from national and international trends and comparative analyses. As a result a wealth of knowledge and data, methodologies, materials and tools for public use are available.
  • Some (few) of these have been presented in this Education Module.



  1. United Nation University UNU-IAS E-waste Statistics Guidelines on Classification, Reporting and Indicators 2015
  2. Technical Report Series EUR 22231 EN Implementation of the Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment Directive in the EU – European Commission Directorate-General Joint Research Centre Institute for prospective Technological Studies 2006
  3. Electronics TakeBack Coalition June 25, 2014 E-Waste Facts and
  7. E-waste Volume I Inventory Assessment Manual United Nations Environmental Programme, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, International Environmental Technology Centre, Osaka/Shiga 2007
  8. E-waste Volume II E-waste Management Manual United Nations Environmental Programme, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, International Environmental Technology Centre, Osaka/Shiga 2007
  9. E-waste Volume III WEEE / E-waste “Take Back System” UNEP / DTIE / IETC 2011
  10. Puja Sawhney, Adelphi Research; Mikael Henzler, Adelphi Research; Stefan Melnitzky, AREC Anita Lung, AREC – Best practices for E-waste Management in Developed Countries – AR Adelphi Research; Austria 2008
  11. Sayman, Rıfat Ünal (lead author) Regional Environmental Center (REC) Turkey; Akpulat, Onur Regional Environmental Center (REC) Turkey; Cordova-Novion, Cesar Jacobs, Cordova & Associates – Regulatory Impact Assessment of EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2002/96/EC) – CAPACITY BILDING in the FIELD of ENVIRONMENT
  13. Autoritatea Contractanta: Ministerul Mediului Si Gospodaririi Apelor Executanti: SC ICPE SA& SC ISPE SA – Studiu pentru determinarea costurilor privind gestionarea deseurilor de echipamente electrice si electronice si determinarea numarului necesar de puncte de colectare in romania – Studiu – Contract 362/2006
  14. Ramboll & Fichtner – Technical Assistance for Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment – (WEEE) Directive Implementation – EuropeAid/121479/D/SER/RO RO 2004/016-772.03.03/04.03
  15. Dimi Defillet. Lynn Cosyn. Peter Vanderschaeghe – Benchmark WEEE systems in Europe – On behalf of Eco-systèmes NVMP Recupel – January, 2013
  16. Carmen Nadia Ciocoiu, Irina Eugenia Iamand, Sebastian Madalin Muntean – Proposal of Decision Criteria Based on Product Characteristics for WEEE Recycling in Romania: A Managerial Approach


[1] WEEE-Directive 2002/96/EC

[2] WEEE-Directive 2012/19/EC

[3] Dimi Defillet. Lynn Cosyn. Peter Vanderschaeghe – Benchmark WEEE systems in Europe – On behalf of Eco-systèmes NVMP Recupel – January, 2013