Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) covers all equipment and devices needing electric currents to function properly –such as refrigerators, washing machines, smartphones, vacuum cleaners but also light bulbs, tablets, PC mouses, headphones, etc. –and that we decide to throw away once they become obsolete or broken.

 

Where does WEEE end up once it leaves the homes of Italians?

To answer this question, Erion WEEE and Altroconsumo decided to carry out the investigation WEEE: Where did it go?”. A total of 370 WEEE were used for this report, including 300 large- and 70 small appliances (such as smartphones, tablet and speakers) disposed of by citizens.

Each of these old or broken electrical and electronic items were fitted with a GPS device capable of tracking its location all the way from the home where it was located.

The investigation updates a report carried out in 2019 covering around 200 large household appliances which showed the existence of unofficial management circuits and a lack of controls along the whole chain.

WEEE, unlike other types of waste such as paper, cardboard and glass, is often not disposed of properly. It is forgotten in closets, stashed in garages or attics or, in the worst of cases, thrown in plastic or household waste bins. Yet, if properly recycled, WEEE represents a key resource for our future and Planet. Italy has made giant strides in the collection and treatment of WEEE.

 

About

The WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l. is an international association representing 51 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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