weee Collection Point
MODULE 02
The E-Waste Solution
Estimated time to complete the module:
45 minutes
Overview

Introduction

In this second module, you will dive into the details of e-waste legislation and the main recycling mechanisms in Europe. You will also learn about the illegal trade of e-waste and the informal recycling sector.

E-waste Management System 

The European Commission published two Directives to regulate the management WEEE: the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive) and the Directive on restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive). 

The WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU) allows the consumers to return their WEEE free of charge and producers are made responsible for the financing of proper collection and treatment of waste. This is the so called Extended Producer Responsibility principle (EPR).

In the European Union, EPR is mandatory within the context of WEEE, battery, End-of-Life Vehicles, packaging and an increasing number of other waste streams.

E-waste Treatment Process 

The e-waste recycling process is highly labor-intensive and involves several steps. Below is the step-by-step process of how e-waste is recycled: 

1. Sorting: when different waste streams items arrive at the recycling plants, the first step involves sorting all the items manually or semi-automatically. Batteries are removed for quality checks. 

2. Disassembly: after sorting by hand, the second step requires dismantling. The e-waste items are broken down into individual parts and then categorized into core materials and components. Categories are further organized by parts that can be reused and parts that should be recycled. 

3. Size reduction process: items that cannot be dismantled efficiently are shredded together. At this stage, any dust is extracted and discarded in a way that does not degrade the environment. 

4. Over-Band magnet: at this step, an over-band magnet is used to remove all magnetic materials including steel and iron from the e-waste debris. 

5. Non-metallic and metallic component separation: this step includes the separation of metals and non-metallic components. Copper, aluminum, and brass are separated from the debris so that only non-metallic materials remain. Metals and plastics are sold as raw materials. 

6. Non-metal separation: this step includes the potential separation of non-metal fractions like different plastic polymers. 
YouTube Video Block
YouTube Video Block

Video: Electronics Recycling Plant

YouTube Video Block

Reading Material

The WEEE Illegal Trade (CWIT) project found that in Europe, out of all the e-waste discarded in 2012, only 35% (3.3 million tonnes) was officially reported as collected and recycled waste. The other 65% (6.15 million tonnes) was either:

  • exported (1.5 million tonnes)
  • recycled under non-compliant conditions in Europe (3.15 million tonnes)
  • broken down for valuable parts (750,000 tonnes)
  • or simply thrown in waste bins (750,000 tonnes)

1.3 million tonnes departed the EU in undocumented exports. These shipments are also likely to be classified as illegal as they do not adhere to the guidelines for differentiating used equipment from waste.

Downloads

Quiz

Congratulations! You just completed Module 2! Test what you have learned by taking a short quiz. Each question has one possible answer. Once you finish the quiz, you can move on to the next module.

Well done!
You answered 0 out of 0
questions correctly!
INVITE OTHERS TO LEARN ABOUT WEEE
Question 0 of 0

Who is responsible for WEEE collection and treatment?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

In which scenario is e-waste least likely to get recycled?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

What does EPR stand for?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

Which of the following is not a step of e-waste treatment process?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

How many European directives on e-waste have been published?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

Which is one of the main current problems of e-waste collection?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

Which of the following is not considered a collection point for e-waste?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION
Question 0 of 0

Why does the informal market have critical consequences?

CONGRATULATIONS, CORRECT ANSWER!
SORRY, WRONG ANSWER!
PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR ANSWER
NEXT QUESTION

Downloads: Teaching materials for classroom use

If you are a teacher and have decided to explore this topic with your classroom, then you have come to the right place! In this space, you will find ideas on how to prepare e-waste lessons. Additional suggestions for learning targets have also been uploaded and they include:

● Lesson timeline

● Topics to be taught

● Group exercises

The topics introduced here can intersect with chemistry, geography and other science classes (e.g. environmental education).

next module

SUPORTED BY:

EIT RawMaterials Academy

MANAGED BY:

chevron-down