MED-3R mesures to improve the collection of waste of electrical and electronic equipment

Electrical and electronic equipment correspond to the equipment working thanks to electric currents or electromagnetic fields and equipment generating, transferring and measuring such currents and fields and which voltage rating does not exceed 1000 Volt for alternative current and 1500 Volt for direct current. Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (or WEEE) may be classified into two main categories, the household WEEE and the professional WEEE.

Household WEEE include the following flows: cooling major appliances (such as refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners), non-cooling major appliances (such as ovens, washing machines, cooking hobs and electrical radiators), mixed small appliances (such as toys and telecommunication or computer equipment), screens (such as televisions, monitors or computers) and lamps.

WEEE often contain products harmful to the environment and public health, as greenhouse gases (refrigerants), heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum) and other toxic compounds (arsenic, PCBs, asbestos, PVC incineration releasing dioxins and furans).

In most industrialized countries, this type of waste is experiencing strong growth (3 to 5% per year) and represents approximately 5% of household waste. Generally, the French generate around 1.3 million tons of WEEE per year, only 0.34 million tons per year are recycled, and the rest are either illegally exported to Asia and Africa, or incinerated or buried in French landfills.

By the Article L.541-10-2 and the articles R. 543-172 to R.543-206 of the French environment code, regulations have been implemented; forcing EEE distributors to take back used equipment when selling a similar one, to report annually the EEE quantities placed on the market, collected and treated, and to inform the purchaser of the negative environmental and public health impacts, the requirement not to dispose these waste with the household waste and the visible fee levied for contributing to disposal through the eco-design or the eco-participation.

A specific sector for collection and effective management has been developed for professional WEEE since 2005 and for household WEEE since 2006. Four approved eco-organization have been established: Recyclum, ERP France, Eco-Systèmes and Ecologic, to found the OCAD3E, a coordinator approved organization, handling relations between the four eco-organizations and the territorial authorities, as these latter are in charge of collecting WEEE from households.

Following to their collection, WEEE are thus, either taken up by one of the solidarity economy enterprises for reuse, or de-polluted since many of them are considered dangerous, then they are recycled as they comprise an important source of recyclable materials (such as glass, plastic and metals), or used to produce energy as solid recovered fuel (or SRF).

In France, a national target of 10 kg/inhab./year has been set for 2014 (with an acquired rate of 6.9 kg/inhab./year in 2013). On a voluntary basis, territorial authorities have the ability to develop a selective collection of household WEEE within their civic amenity sites. Thus, the Metropolis of Nice Cote d’Azur wanted through the MED-3R project, to contribute to improving the collection rate of these waste on its territory. For this purpose, four WEEE storage boxes have been made available to the local population at the civic amenities of the west of Nice, of Isola, of Valdeblore and of Cagnes-sur-Mer, in order to collect the non-cooling major appliances, being an important source of recyclable materials that can be easily disassembled. This work will be accompanied by communication actions conducted among the citizens of the Metropolis of Nice Cote d’Azur and vocational trainings to reinforce local technicians and engineers.

WEEE storage box for the collection of non-cooling major appliances at the civic amenities of the west of Nice.

WEEE storage box for the collection of non-cooling major appliances at the civic amenities of Isola.

WEEE storage box for the collection of non-cooling major appliances at the civic amenities of Valdeblore.

WEEE storage box for the collection of non-cooling major appliances at the civic amenities of Cagnes-sur-Mer.

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