Almost 40,000 tons of e-waste collected by Environ last year

The Environ Association, one of the first organizations licensed in Romania for the transfer of responsibility in the field of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), managed in 2023 a quantity of 39,165 tons of waste, i.e. 3,413,546 pieces. From robots that replace or simplify human work, smart home remote control devices, entertainment equipment and even personal care tools, toys or even electronic cigarettes, today electrical equipment has become an integral part of modern life.

According to Eurostat data, the European market for electrical and electronic equipment has grown by 85% in the last 8 years, which implicitly led to an increase in the amount of WEEE waste. In Romania, only at the level of 2021, the last one for which there is data, 13.8 kg of electrical and electronic equipment per capita entered the market, the European average being 23.7 kg/capita. On average, a European owns 74 electronic devices of which at least 13 are unused (of which 4 are broken and 9 are in working order), according to the WEEE Forum.

The ever-increasing consumption of electrical equipment and technology is deepening an old problem that is already endangering our health and affecting the environment surrounding: that of electrical waste, storage of some secondary raw materials, some of them even critical, but also of some dangerous substances and gases”, explains Roxana Puia, marketing manager of the ENVIRON Association.

Even though it is the world leader in terms of the amount of electrical waste collected and recycled, Europe still fails to meet the target imposed by Directive 2012/19/EU, i.e. at least 65% of the amount of equipment placed on the market in the previous 3 years. More precisely, the average rate reported at the European level for 2021 is 46.2%, while in Romania the collection rate was 31.7%.

According to the legislation in force, the 3,952 companies registered with the National Authority for Environmental Protection, which put on the market electrical and electronic equipment imported or produced under their own brand, have the obligation to manage the waste resulting from the products sold at the end of their life cycle. This is done through collective responsibility transfer organizations, with the minimum WEEE collection rate being 65% of the equipment put on the market.

Recycling Hub photo Environ jpeg

With the nearly 3.5 million pieces of WEEE collected, the Environ Association recorded a collection rate of 65.54%. By category, the most waste collected by Environ was small equipment (over 2 million pieces), large equipment (almost 690 thousand pieces), IT&C equipment (over 470 thousand pieces), heat transfer equipment (refrigerators, air conditioners and others – almost 100 thousand pieces) and televisions with CRT, LCD and LED technologies (64 thousand pieces). From the point of view of the sources of generation, the retail collection channel is predominant, and as for geography, the best performing regions were Bucharest – Ilfov, followed by Olt and Cluj counties.

In 2024, we aim to achieve the objectives assumed on behalf of our customers, which translates into the collection of 37,646.34 tons of WEEE, as well as the conclusion of strategic partnerships for the development of collection points, the first step in this regard being the implementation of 12 recycling hubs -s in the office buildings in the north of the Capital“, said Roxana Puia.

The representatives of the Environ Association point out that, “no matter how great the technological progress and the advance of artificial intelligence”, electrical appliances, from the large ones to the “invisible” ones, do not recycle themselves.

We control electrical equipment remotely, and yet sometimes it's hard for us to do some common sense things like end-of-life management and handing it over to a collection point. So we will continue to create both affordable solutions and campaigns to raise awareness and promote responsible post-consumption habits“, Roxana Puia also declared.

About the Environ Association

The ENVIRON association, which represents the obligations of about 1,100 manufacturers who put on the market imported electrical and electronic equipment or products under their own brand, respectively 27% of the total number of companies registered with the National Authority for Environmental Protection, is one of the most important players in the field of management electrical and electronic equipment waste. In the more than 16 years of activity, it managed more than 225,000 tons of electrical and electronic equipment waste and organized more than 4,000 collection points.

The organization, which was awarded in 2023 for special awareness projects, takes responsibility for all 6 categories of electrical and electronic equipment, namely: thermal transfer equipment, monitors and screens, lamps, large equipment, small equipment and IT&C equipment.