As part of our five-year project Life Turn to e-circular, promoted under the slogan # I’m still useful! and in cooperation with project partners, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a waste collection company TSD and our local partner Simbio, a waste management company, we are presenting a pilot reuse corner for disposal of still operating devices. It is located at the Collection Center RCERO Celje and is available to anyone who would like to put their appliances into further use. With the installation of the reuse container, we began our journey in the field of circular electronics, which is also called for by European legal regulations.
ZEOS is the largest Slovenian scheme for e-waste, waste batteries and waste grave candles collection on behalf of the manufacturers. Collected waste is handed over to authorized treatment operators for further processing. During the 13 years of e-waste collection, we collected almost 90,000 tons of e-waste. We estimate that among this waste, 1-2% of devices are still functional, but they unnecessarily end up in material processing sector. At the same time, we are aware that legislative changes, being prepared in the European Union and consequently in Slovenia, force the field of waste management into the circular economy. Therefore, through our activities, we intend to work towards capturing this waste and reusing it.
The European Waste Directive, transposed into Slovenian legislation in the form of the Waste Regulation, already defines the system of extended producer responsibility as a fundamental element of efficient waste management. The amendment to the European Waste Directive obliges producers to implement the process of handling used products. The articles of the directive relating to extended producer responsibility must enter into force by 1 January 2021, presumably under the new Environmental Protection Act. The European Commission also presented a new Action Plan for the Circular Economy in March of this year, which presented measures focusing on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high. Among them is also electronics, where there is an initiative for circular electronics for longer product life and to reduce the amount of e-waste.
Project contribution to longer life of e-devices
The Life Turn e-Circular project was launched earlier this year and promotes the circular economy in the field of e-equipment and emphasizes the environmental and social aspects of preserving and extending the life of appliances. The project shall make an important contribution to the above-mentioned changes in the promising legislation. It will last until the end of 2024 and is co-financed by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia and the European Commission. As part of the project, a variety of activities will be carried out to promote the priority elements of the circular economy – from reuse, sharing and appliance repair, to process digitization and innovative business model promotion. We will set up around 60 reuse corners for capturing and removing still operating appliances form the waste flow throughout Slovenia and provide them to their new owners. The first one was set up in the modern waste management centre RCERO Celje, which is one of the first and largest such centres in Slovenia.
By setting up the reuse corner, we comply with future legislation, establish traceability and test the criteria for the elimination of appliances from waste. It is a pilot project that establishes a process of preparation for the reuse of e-waste. At the same time, reuse corner is a communication tool for guiding people, and the results of the pilot process will be the basis for the establishment of a unified system in the future.
The corner for handing over still operating appliances is a restored ship container, which is bright yellow in colour and thus unmissable. It is located in the part of the collection centre next to the storage space for waste appliances. The following reusable appliances can be accepted: washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, desktop and laptop computers, consumer electronics, small household appliances, toys, mobile phones, speakers, flat screen TVs with remote controls, LCD monitors, circular saws, drills, audio equipment, vacuum cleaners and other suitable electric or battery – operated appliances. All data that will still be stored on any submitted data carriers will be deleted in the process of preparation for re-use. Reuse corner collects appliances that are safe to use, not broken or damaged, not excessively dirty, and not older than 10 years. If they do not meet these requirements, they must be handed over to the collection point for waste electrical and electronic equipment, located next to the corner. As part of the project, suitable operating devices will be used to find new owners through various channels.
Therefore, all citizens are invited to visit RCERO Celje, to submit in our yellow reuse corner some of your still working appliances, which are no longer needed.