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WEEE Recycling & IT Asset Disposal

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Recycling of Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE)

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According to the EC (19 November, 2008) “waste means any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard.” Recycling materials and products – that are considered waste - is an ancient practice which shows that in times of resource scarcity (i.e. shortage of virgin materials) societies attach more economic and societal value to their own waste. This implies that throughout time the definition of waste can change as well. Generally speaking longer use or re-use of materials and products this is often mainly to cover a society’s needs.

Clean Development Mechanism market status: 

When looking at the CDM project pipeline, there are few project activities that involve some form of waste recovery or recycling. Waste related projects in the pipeline include waste-to-energy projects by means of incineration or gasification or methane capture at landfill sites. Other CDM project activities relate to the use of either biomass from virgin sources or secondary biomass waste streams, generally for the production of bio-energy. The associated methodologies of these waste management technologies/processes can be used for quantifying the GHG-impact. Standard methods or protocols for quantifying the GHG-impact of recycling projects and practices are scarcer, although they almost by no exception follow the guiding principles of a life cycle assessment (LCA).

However, no CDM projects are currently registered concerning WEEE recycling. Certain methodologies are in place to support recycling projects. However, these methodologies are not fully suitable for WEEE recycling projects as the methodologies concern other sectors. For example, the CDM methodology Recovery and recycling of materials from solid wastes AMS-III.AJ.:  Version 1 which is developed to support the recycling process of specific plastics. The methodology does indicate the possibilities for WEEE recycling under the CDM. This methodology's GHG reduction calculations are based on the difference in energy use for the production of the plastics from virgin inputs versus production from recycled material. The emissions reductions accrue to the recycling facility. Currently, no CDM projects are in the pipeline that use this methodology.

There is a small scale methodology that has been proposed and that currently awaits approval that would be suitable for WEEE recycling projects. That methodology is Emission reductions by using recycling material instead of raw material SSC-NM043. While this methodology is specifically proposed to cover more general recycling options, the methodology still needs to be approved before it can be used. 

General information about how to apply CDM methodologies for GHG accounting can be found at: http://cdm.unfccc.int/methodologies/PAmethodologies/approved.html.

Operating under a section 23 permit (UK Environment Agency), Processing of WEEE, in accordance with relevant Directives, as transposed into UK legislation, IT-Green® has been recycling waste computer hardware and remaining 9 categories of WEEE.

Implementing Partners: 

IT-Green®, Computer Displays UK Limited

Location

London
United Kingdom
Stage of Project: 
ongoing
Main activity and output: 

Main Activity:

The company carries out B2B WEEE Disposal, recovering materials in-house from wastes that it both transports and treats.

The business offers IT Asset Disposal (Computer Recycling), recovering valuable resources from waste hardware via manual and mechanical reprocessing. The resultant outputs are free of hazardous materials and suitable for shearing and re-introduction into the manufacturing chain.

Outputs:

Ferrous and Non Ferrous Metals

Precious Metals

Hard Plastics

Glass

Residues (including Hazardous Wastes)

Expected impact: 

Recovery of high value materials and resources with a throughput of 160 metric tonnes minimum per annum

Information about costs: 

N/A. Chargeable to client

Lessons learned: 

Simplifying processes, processing wastes as efficiently as possible reduces costs and overheads, maximising throughput and efficiency