Our Belgian member, Recupel, turns 20 this year. What better way to celebrate than to continue building the future of recycling and reuse of electrical and electronic waste, thus facilitating the transition to a circular economy? Recupel is one of Europe’s champions in e-waste collection with an impressive result of 10,8 kg per inhabitant in 2020. Recupel was also one of the founding members of the WEEE Forum. Take a look at the interview with Eric Dewaet, Recupel’s CEO, and learn how they get where they are today and how they envisage the future.
In the last two decades, Recupel has been on an extraordinary journey, transforming from a small organisation into a leading player in the recycling and reuse of electrical and electronic waste. “In the early 2000s, we were pioneers in Europe, because we had to build everything from scratch”, explains Éric Dewaet, who has been Recupel’s CEO since July 2020. “We’ve enjoyed an amazing growth, particularly thanks to our ability to work together with all stakeholders.” Today, Recupel is at the forefront of the EU in terms of collecting, transporting, recycling and contributing to the reuse of millions of unwanted electrical and electronic devices.
However, there’s no chance of Recupel resting on its laurels, as the organisation is firmly focused on the future. Its objective? To become a true leader in the circular economy. “Our network and our partners are our greatest assets. Our role is to coordinate all these players perfectly in order to redouble our recycling efforts and increase the volume of reused devices.” The transition to a circular economy is relying, among other things, on the reuse centres and waste recovery centres that you’ll find across Belgium. These partners, which are real pillars of the social economy, give a second life to old electrical and electronic devices. Every device that is repaired or reused is one less device being thrown away!
The road that Recupel has travelled in twenty years is only the beginning, and it has no shortage of ambition. “Firstly, we want to collect and recycle more and more e-waste, to the tune of 3,000 additional tonnes per year,” the CEO explains. In 2020, Recupel collected 123,840 tonnes. “We’ve also set an objective to increase the number of devices collected that are given a second life through reuse by 50%. And anything that is no longer usable must find its way to recycling centres. It’s an enormous challenge, but together with our partners we’re ready to take it on! That’s not all, however: the recovery – in terms of quantity and quality – of critical metals is also a crucial issue for our future. ”
Recupel is stepping up its efforts to be more efficient and to strengthen its network. “We’re also using technology, such as artificial intelligence, to do our jobs better.” Recupel’s dream? That in the future, there will be no obstacles to recycling or reusing unwanted devices! We therefore all play a key role in preventing this hazardous waste from ending up in nature. “I’m very hopeful, because the younger generations are really aware of the need to save our environment and work towards a circular economy,” concludes Éric Dewaet.
The WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l. is an international association representing forty producer responsibility organisations across the globe. Together with our members, we are at the forefront of turning the extended producer responsibility principle into an effective electronic waste management policy approach through our combined knowledge of the technical, business and operational aspects of collection, logistics, de-pollution, processing, preparing for reuse and reporting of e-waste. Our mission is to be the world’s foremost e-waste competence centre excelling in the implementation of the circularity principle.
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