The IDENTIS WEEE European project for increasing the collection of electronic waste

The LIFE+ project aims at complete WEEE traceability. Leading institution Hera Spa (Italy). Partner the waste collection organizations Ecolight (Italy), Ecolum (Spain) and Environ (Romania).
The total budget is 3.5 milion euros.

To double the amount of collected waste from electric and electronic equipment (WEEE), to grant traceability through technologically innovative devices and improve the collection of secondary raw materials. These are some of the objectives of the European project IDENTIS WEEE (Identification Determination Traceability Integrated System for WEEE), led by one of the most important Italian multiutility. Partners are other WEEE collection systems: Ecolight Consortium (Italy), Fundación Ecolum (Spain) e Asociatia Environ (Romania). The project is co-founded by the European Union under the “Life + Programme, Environmental policy and governance”, foresees a total budget of 3.5 milion euros and is supported by several other Italian (ANCI, Federambiente e Regione Emilia Romagna) and international organizations.

An innovative project. For two reasons the IDENTIS WEEE project is unique in Europe. In the first place, it aims at intercepting electronic waste, especially small appliances and energy saving bulbs by means of new “intelligent” collections systems. WEEE is in fact a potentially dangerous kind of waste which has to undergo a special treatment both in order to avoid the leak of polluting substances and to recover other valuable substances such as plastic, glass, iron, aluminium, and precious metals like tungsten and palladium that can be re-used in the production cycle. Secondly, it aims at tracing this kind of waste from the delivery to the recovery/disposal, respecting thus the indications of Strasbourg and creating an innovative system allowing to test citizens’ behaviour in order to offer them a better service. This system will also allow to fight the illegal export of WEEE.

Project’s stages. The IDENTIS WEEE project started at the end of 2011m, will be realized in five years and involves three countries. The project consists of three stages. By 2012 a number of containers for WEEE in the Emilia-Romagna Region, in the 1st district of Bucharest and in the town of Saragozza. These are the road containers designed by Hera and the partners for collection of small house appliances, mobile phones and energy saving light bulbs. Other new containers for the collection of large appliances like televisors, computers etc. will be placed in collection centres and both within and outside shopping centres. It is also expected the realization of a mobile station for curbside collection, led by an operator, for door-to-door collection of any type of WEEE. A digital system will be used to monitor each container’s activity, by registering the user, the amount of waste delivered, the product’s informations and lifecycle, the material it is made of, granting thus full transparency of the process.

The second stage will take place in 2013-14, when testing of the system on the territory and data collection will take place. In 2015, the project’s closing year, the data will be studied and disseminated.

“Electronic waste represents the real challenge for the environmental sector” states Eng. Roberto Barilli, general director of Hera, “This type waste grow at a rate three times higher that other kinds of waste and we can do better to deal with them. With this project we are on the front line together with other important European partners and we have ambitious objectives that under some respect exceed the European directive about WEEE”

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