Difficult to intercept these everyday items when they become waste. The European project IDENTIS WEEE provides innovative containers for them, traceability and a collection service closest to the citizen

Phones, blenders, razors, remote controls and also electronic games, that is small everyday items that are no longer functional, and risk to end up in the black bag of rubbish. Technically they are called WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and identified by the initials R4. Their production is constantly growing but they are difficult to intercept. According to data from the WEEE Coordination Centre, a body that manages the work of the consortia involved in the collection of electronic waste, last year over 40 thousand tons were collected in local drop-off points and taken to proper recovery. This has saved approximately 60 thousand tons of carbon dioxide and 25,200 toe (tons of oil equivalent) for the production of new raw materials. This number is too low, if you think that the annual production of R4 is estimated in around 200 thousand tons. How to handle this situation? Containers should be placed along the roads and on strategic locations, but also provide for a more advanced collection system, ease of use, proximity to the citizen. This is precisely the objective of the European project IDENTIS WEEE (Identification DEterminatioN Traceability Integrated System for WEEE), coordinated by Hera, multi-utility from Bologna, together with the collective systems of three nations: Ecolight Consortium for Italy, Fundación Ecolum for Spain and Asociatia Environ for Romania. “The goal of this project - explains Roberto Barili, General Director of Hera - is to double the amount of WEEE collected with great attention to the waste in the R4 group, made of materials recoverable for almost 95%.”

The solutions proposed so far have not led to great results: “If the transfer to eco-centres continues to concern mostly large appliances - observes Giancarlo Dezio, director of Ecolight, also the shop channels concerning small appliances reaches only low levels, despite the latter was enabled with the decree One on One allowing to deliver for free old appliances when purchasing a new one of equivalent functionality. Considered by weight, small appliances have just passed the 100 tons: just over 2% of WEEE was collected by shops in 2011. “

IDENTIS WEEE, project funded within the program “LIFE + Environmental Policy and Governance”, designed and monitored with the operational support of Techne scpa, aims at testing innovative devices. Barilli continues: “By the end of 2012 we will introduce in Bologna, Castenaso, Ravenna, Lugo-prototype containers for the collection of WEEE. The testing will also occur in areas of Zaragoza (Spain) and Bucharest (Romania). Innovative new road containers, around forty, are being designed and manufactured by the partnership for the collection of small appliances, cell phones and low energy light bulbs. New containers for large and small appliances, televisions and computers will be placed in ecological stations, shops and malls. The project also foresee the realization of a mobile station led by an operator, for WEEE collection by public squares and streets. “

Along with the innovation of collection tools, the project introduces the topic of traceability of WEEE. “Containers - said the General Director of Hera - will be equipped with a new information system. Innovative digital devices allow user identification, determination of exact amount of WEEE delivered, tracing of the life cycle of rejection, and to provide information on the product and its recoverable materials, ensuring thus the transparency of the entire management process. “

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