In its WEEE directive the European Union identifies 6 product categories to classify Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Name the six main groups and give examples!
How do this six groups contribute to the total global E-Waste—stream in million tons?
Temperature Exchange Equipment (refrigerators, heat pumps, air conditioners, etc.)
Screens and Monitors
Large equipment (stoves, washing machines, dishwashers, etc.)
Small equipment (cameras, microwaves, small electrical tools or toys, etc.)
Small IT and Telecommunications Equipment (routers, computers, (mobile) phones, etc.)
How many kg of e-waste was produced per person in the year 2019?
On average, every person on the world produced 7,3kg of e-waste in the year 2019
How much of the global e-waste is properly collected and recycled?
about 17% of the global e-waste stream is collected and properly recycled.
Since 2014, the documented recycling of WEEE has grown at 0,4 Mt per year. Why is this still problematic?
While the amount of recycled e-waste grows by 0,4 Mt per year, the ammount of generated e-waste grows by 2 Mt per year.
Name the 9 main steps in recycling of small appliances like vacuum cleaners and electronic toys!
Hand pre-sorting and decontamination
Mechanical opening (disintegrator)
Separation of ferrous metals (Overband)
Hand sorting of copper motor coils
How are all the extracted fractions from WEEE-Recycling treated?
Used to produce new materials (preffered solution)
Energy or material recovery
Disposal in compliance with the relevant regulations
What should you bare in mind when designing your product for recycling?
Shredding is by far the most likely recycling scenario for the product. So you shold focus on how effectively the product can be shredded.
Therefore, a sandwich construction which assures separation of the different elements of your product upon crushing is preferable.
Name some design guidelines for recylclability of electrical and electronic equipment on the product level!
Reduce complexity: Minimise the total number of components
Consider modularity: e.g. combine hazardous and / or valuable parts into a single module
Design for shredding / mechanical opening
Avoid creating permanent connections: instead consider click fingers, snap fits and screws
Reduce the total number and different types of fasteners
protect fasteners and screws from wear and corrosion (otherwise they can’t be opened at the end-of-life)
Use standardized fasteners
Name some design guidelines for recylclability of electrical and electronic equipment on the component level!
Ensure that hazardous and / or valuable components are easily identifiable and accessible. (batteries, liquid coolants / PCBs, Motors, cables)
Avoid permanently connecting components through gluing, welding or insert moulding.
Minimise the total number and length of cables and wires in your product
Name some design guidelines for recylclability of electrical and electronic equipment on the material level!
Use materials that are easily recyclable
Use recycled materials whenever possible
Minimise the number of different materials used
Use a single material or avoid mixing materials
Avoid harmful materials, substances and additives
What should be the starting point of designing a product for recycling?
Design for recycling starts by understanding how a product will likely be recycled
Name some design for recycling guidelines related to metal compatibility for commonly-used metals!
If the main material in a component is Al (cast), do not attach a part of stainless steel or steel onto it.
If the main material in a component is Al (wrought), do not attach a part of Al (cast), copper, stainless steel or steel onto it.
If the main material in a component is Stainless steel, do not attach a part of copper onto it.
If the main material in a component is Steel, do not attach a part of copper or stainless steel onto it.
If the main material is copper, do not permanently fix a part of iron, lead, antimony or bismuth to it
Name some design for recycling guidelines related to plastics!
Use common plastics only (e.g. ABS, PE, PP, PA, PC , PC/ABS and HIPS) Unlike uncommon plastics, these materials are already being recycled in sufficient volumes. If an uncommon plastic is necessary, use one with a density outside the 0.85 – 1.25 g/cm3 density range of common plastics.
Avoid polymer blends Polymer blends (besides PC/ABS) can pollute recycled material streams.
Avoid glass fibre filled polymers Glass fibres pollute the recycled material stream and can decrease its mechanical properties.
Minimise the use of additives These reduce the purity of recycled plastic streams.
Avoid the use of thermoset rubbers These cannot be recycled.
Avoid the use of thermosets and composites Thermosets cannot be recycled. If a thermoset is required, use one with a density outside the 0.85 – 1.25 g/cm3 density range of common plastics.
Avoid coatings and paints on plastic parts They will pollute material streams and possibly change the density of the material.
Avoid the use of foam
Minimize the use of thermoplastic elastomers These are not recycled.
Do not use plating, galvanizing or vacuum metallization to coat plastic parts This creates a connection between the plastic and metal.