European industry launches new online WEEE information platform

A new online platform aimed at making the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) easier has been launched by European industry bodies yesterday (28 February).

Digital technology industry body DIGITALEUROPE and home appliance trade body CECED have joined with the WEEE Forum, an international association of producer responsibility organisations, to launch the ‘Information for Recyclers’ Platform (I4R), which provides information about the presence and location of WEEE materials and components that need separate treatment.

WEEE is a notoriously difficult-to-recycle waste stream due to the wide variety of components and materials used to make the different products, with only around 30 per cent being recycled and 40 per cent ending up in landfill.European industry launches new online WEEE information platform

The WEEE Directive, introduced in 2003, requires producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to provide information free of charge about preparation for reuse and  treatment for each type of EEE placed on the market.

In 2005, CECED and DIGITALEUROPE (speaking for manufacturers of home appliances and ICT and consumer electronics) and the electronics recyclers at the European Educational Research Association (EERA) reached an agreement on the format of this information. Since then, manufacturers have been collecting the information in a harmonized reporting format for each product on their website, which has been collated and yesterday was launched as the I4R Platform.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, said: “We wish to drive solutions to this problem, and the I4R platform is key to better inform managers in the recycling industry and to train workers on safety issues. By providing information at product group level, the I4R platform will help recyclers to optimise sorting where applicable.”

CECED’s Director General, Paolo Falcioni, added: “The added value of the I4R platform will not only benefit recyclers and the industry, but also all European citizens. It is another example of industries working together to contribute to a Circular Society, this time by supporting recycling and secondary raw material recovery.”

Also commenting was Pascal Leroy, Secretary General at the WEEE Forum, who described the platform as a “major step forward in improving treatment processes, and of compliance in general.” He continued: “Easily accessible information about the presence of batteries, printed circuit boards or plastics containing brominated flame retardants in e-waste is what recyclers require.”

The I4R platform follows on the heels of the launch of another European digital database of WEEE information, with the Urban Mine Platform the result of the ProSUM project (Prospecting Secondary Raw Materials in the Urban Mine and Mining Waste). This consolidates 800 source documents and databases from all 28 EU member states to create a ‘state of the art knowledge base’, capable of tracking the quantity of precious metals and CRMs in products available and those entering the waste stream - revealing an urban mine of WEEE worth billions.

More information on the I4R Platform is available on the 14R website.

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