The retailer will accept the end-of-life equipment when selling a new equivalent product. Having collected a certain amount or number of WEEE he or she will then contact the WEEE compliance scheme for collecting the WEEE or drop the product at a local municipal waste collection point.
A consumer has basically three options: ◦ If the product is not broken and can be refurbished or re-used it may be taken to a social utility institution. ◦ Old, broken equipment may be dropped off in a collection facility. ◦ When consumers buy a new product, the retailer will take the end-of-life appliance of equivalent nature, e.g. a refrigerator for a refrigerator but not a hairdryer for a refrigerator. The same applies if the retailer delivers the new equipment to the consumer’s home.
Discarded appliances are taken to treatment and processing plants. Devices are all processed in a way that hazardous components, e.g. waste oils or ozone-depleting gases in refrigerators, can be separated. Recoverable materials, such as iron, copper, aluminium, glass or plastic are set aside for the production of new goods.
Consumers are entitled to return them free of charge. In most organisations that are member of the WEEE Forum, WEEE management costs are shared among producers who are active on the market today, for example in proportion to their current market share and irrespective of their share of the market at the time when the product was first sold.
The recycling contribution is a small amount which the consumer must pay in addition to the purchase price of a new electrical or electronic product, to cover costs of recycling. This money is used to fund a collection and recycling system that allows discarded devices to be processed in a way that is least harmful to the environment. Retailers are required to take back discarded electrical and electronic goods when consumers buy similar new products. Another option for consumers is to hand in this equipment at municipal collection facilities. The amount of the recycling contribution will vary per product. Contributions are calculated on the basis of the estimated number of electrical and electronic appliances that will be recovered during the lifetime of that product and typically varies between €0.10 and €20 per unit.