Why WEEE is Precious

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The conversation surrounding recyclate quality has become louder, no doubt given the advent of the TEEP rules in January.

While many would argue the introduction of TEEP leaves a lot to be desired – largely because its parameters have not been clearly defined in England – at least it has put materials recovery under the spotlight.

One area that I feel merits further attention is waste electri­cal and electronic equipment (WEEE). Organisations such as the WEEE Forum are working hard to tackle Europe’s e-waste challenge, not least because illegal trade has the potential to create significant health risks and envi­ronmental damage.

But it must also be noted that WEEE is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, so the greater the level of electrical equipment we dispose of, the more valuable resources we lose.

Few people would dispute the value of precious metals such as gold and palladium. So why, when it comes to the recovery of such critical materials, is performance largely insufficient?

For too long the somewhat lazy or dismissive mind-set of complex WEEE being ‘someone else’s problem’ has overridden the reuse, repair, recycling and recov­ery of electrical equipment and its components, especially in the UK.

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The author: XPO
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