Circular economy

WEEE recycling avoided the emission of 550 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent

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Europe avoided the emission of almost 3 million tons of CO2. Green Economy Report by Remedia.

Almost 3 million tons of CO2 equivalent were avoided in Europe thanks to the recycling of Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment. In Italy alone, the recycling of technological waste in 2015 allowed to avoid the emission of about 550 thousand tons of CO2 eq. The data comes from the first Green Economy Report by Remedia, a collective system for the management of WEEE, photovoltaic plant waste, batteries and accumulators. The report concerns the fight against climate change in particular in the sector of electric and electronic waste.

The report was drafted in collaboration with the Foundation for Sustainable Development and studied the impact of the WEEE recycling system in Italy and in the EU. In particular it analysed the contribution brought by the Remedia Consortium in the global process of transition towards the green economy: this includes the fight against climate change which made the object of the Paris agreement at the Cop21 conference.

Remedia disposed of over 39,800 tons of technological waste, among which 33,300 tons of domestic WEEE (83.7%) collected in 698 municipal collection points; 3,600 tons of professional WEEE (9,1%); 2,900 tons of batteries and accumulators (7.3%); over 600 tons of other waste types. The report also shows the positive environmental impact of WEEE recycling: 659,845 cubic metres of water were saved; 70,378 tons of resources were not extracted from the environment; 336 ha of land were not exploited. The quantity of CO2 equivalent that was saved amounts to almost 205 thousand tons, also thanks to the correct disposal of CFCs (whose contribution was 72%).

88.4% of the technological waste collected by Remedia was recycled and 3.1% was transformed into energy: it is interesting to remark that only 8.1% was eventually landfilled and only 0.4% was incinerated. For what concerns the materials recovered, the report shows that 21% was plastic, 20% glass, 6% other categories and 53% metals. In the metal category, the majority consists of steel and iron (77.7%), followed by lead (9.1%), aluminium (6.3%) and copper (6.2%).

The recovery of such materials from technological waste has positive effects not only on the environment but also on the economy: according to the results calculated by the Sustainable Development Foundation with data by Remedia, Eurostat, World Bank and Indexmundi, Remedia in 2015 contributed to the reduction of raw material import costs for a total estimated value of €16 billion.

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