WEEE: the collection increases by 8%, but remains far from European standards

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2015 Report of the Coordination Centre: an increase is visible, but Brussels targets are going to be hard to achieve.

2015, the year of comeback: this is the heart of the latest Annual Report on Electric and Electronic Waste Collection and Treatment in Italy, by the WEEE Coordination Centre (“Centro di Coordinamento RAEE”). The data reveals that last year, the overall WEEE collection managed by the Collective Systems has increased by 8%, while recycling points open to citizens have increased by 2.76%.

“This year’s data can surely make us optimistic – declared Fabrizio D’Amico, president of the WEEE Coordination Centre – The times of the dramatic decrease of waste flows seem to be over, and we are noticing a certain comeback in this sector, after considerable volume losses over the last three years. We like to think that electronic waste collection in Italy is catching up on the time wasted, and getting ready to take off towards the targets set by the EU directives.”

The total collection amounted to 249,253,916 kg, with an increase by over 17 million kg compared to the previous year, and an average per capita rate of 4.1 kg of collected WEEE per citizen. The recycling points active on the national territory are 3,906, with an improvement of the services for citizens who wish to correctly recycle their WEEE.

These results confirm the signals of comeback from the economic crisis that have strongly been influencing the electric and electronic devices market over the last few years, and they can be interpreted as the product of a constant diffusion of the WEEE collection culture. A further aspect is the positive effect of two important Program Agreements signed by the WEEE Coordination Centre in 2015, in addition to a slight reduction of the dispersion rate caused by the decrease of value of the raw materials.

In spite of this positive picture, which seems encouraging in the light of the new EU collection targets, the Coordination Centre wants to stress that it is impossible to quantify the WEEE left outside the official disposal chain organized by the Collective Systems. It is still essential to fight WEEE dispersion and black trade, because this waste, invisible to official statistics, is probably treated with systems that do not respect any legal standard, with considerable damages for the environment and the community.

In the Collective Systems, the WEEE is sorted into five categories that correspond to different treatment and recycling requirements based on raw materials. Within the 5 categories, the main one seems to be no. 1 (Refrigerators and AC Devices), with over 70 thousand tons. The results of the survey are positive in all categories except for category 3 (TV Sets and Screens), which decreased by 4.86% compared to 2014. This data, however, was not unexpected and corresponds to the trend of this field over the past few years.

In particular, category R1 (Refrigerators and AC Devices) increased by 9.98% with the collection of 70,415,437 kg, while R2 (“Big White Appliances”) increased by 18,67% with the collection of 68,767,964 kg, the absolute best performance. Category R4 (Small Appliances) increased by 8.71% with 43,439,076 kg, while R5 (Light Sources) increased by 13.74% compared to 2014, with the collection of 1,449,714 kg.

The data of the 8th Annual Report on the WEEE System shows a positive trend all over the country, although important differences still remain among regions. The North and Centre confirm and further strengthen their overall collection increase compared to 2014, while the South and the Islands (Sardinia and Sicily) finally show a positive result, with an overall increase of 11.84%. The same situation can be observed in the collection per capita, which is increasing in all areas, North, Centre, South and Islands.

President D’Amico commented: “By the end of 2016, Italy will need to collect 45 tons of electronic waste for every 100 tons produced. Unfortunately, our country still doesn’t seem to be ready to achieve this target, if we consider the total WEEE collection rate of Italy, which amounts to only 30 tons for every 100 tons produced. In order to avoid possible sanctions by the European Commission if we don’t achieve the targets, we need our system to have a reaction of pride with a decisive investment of effort and impactful activities to reach out to consumers: such activities have been missing for years, and we need them for Italians to understand that the circular economy is something to be made by everybody in their homes, not just in far away EU directives.

Download the WEEE Coordination Centre Report.

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