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GREENING ELECTRONICS Lessons from a Danish study on WEEE. WEEE -REGULATION. Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment ( WEEE ) fastest growing waste fraction in EU (UNEP 2009) classified as hazardous waste EU Directive 2002/96/EC ( WEEE Directive )

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GREENING ELECTRONICS Lessons from a Danish study on WEEE

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weee regulation

Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

  • fastest growing waste fraction in EU (UNEP 2009)
  • classified as hazardous waste
  • EU Directive 2002/96/EC (WEEE Directive)
    • collection, recycling and recovery targets
  • EU Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS Directive)
    • restriction of six HS in EEE: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)
actors within the danish weee management system
Actors within the Danish WEEE management system
  • Extended producer responsibility
  • DPA System competent authority (WEEE regulation, registration and reporting)
  • Collective schemes
  • Business ≠Consumer products
  • Collection/pre-processing/disposal
weee statistics
  • Marketed EEE
  • Collected WEEE (@municipal collection sites)
  • Treated WEEE
  • UNBALANCE due to:
    • no reporting of business products (e.g. if delivered directly to pre-processing facility)
    • use and stockpiling (Quantity???)
    • collected with MSW (Quantity???)
material flow analysis mfa danish pre processing facility
MATERIAL FLOW ANALYSIS (MFA) Danish pre-processing facility
  • Averhoff, Aarhus (Elretur collective scheme)
  • 16000 tons/y treated for WEEE cat.

2- Small household appliances

4 - Consumer equipment

  • Manual sorting
  • Shredding
  • Size sorting
  • Magnetic separation
mfa averhoff continued
MFA averhoff (continued)

Fraction from over-belt magnet (electromotor and transformer waste ).

Output from the multi-cyclone filter.

mfa averhoff continued1
MFA averhoff (continued)

≈ 1500 tons/year

Total weight of WEEE where energy is recovered in a power plant

≈ 41.5 tons/year

Total weight of remaining WEEE which is disposed to landfill

limitations of danish weee data
  • poor and not sufficient for SFA
  • non-transparent flow of different materials
    • in the collection and pre-processing stages
  • generic WEEE nomenclature
  • generic knowledge of HS content in WEEE
    • no chem. analysis
  • manual sorting according to equipment list from WEEE-directive.
  • HS content in new products?
hs of concern outside r o hs criteria for identification
  • Subst. dangerous in accordance with the Dangerous Substances Directive (Directive 67/548/EEC), that applies to pure chemicals marketed in the EU
  • Subst. Of very high concern (SVHC) in accordance with REACH
  • Subst. found as contaminants in humans and biota
  • Subst. with hazardous degradation products
substance flow analysis sfa
Substance flow analysis (SFA)

For 9 selected HS in a Danish pre-processing facility

(6 RoHS subst. + 3 not included in RoHS)


  • Quantify amount HS in specific output fractions.
  • Estimate “contamination” of fractions to be recycled/disposed via thermal treatment
  • Individuate hot spots for potential impacts
sfa 2 concentration data
  • Substances included in RoHS + others
  • HS Conc. data in WEEE sorted fractions, from literature (Morf et al, 2004-2007, Swiss case study)
  • Data prior to RoHS!!!  expected overestimation of RoHS HS flows
sfa 3 results
SFA 3 - Results
  • Total amount (kg) HS per different output fractions.
  • Calculated total HS content of input WEEE

Tetrabromo-bisphenol-A (TBBP-A)

Chromium (Cr)

sfa 4 discussion
SFA-4 Discussion
  • Printed wiring board carrier for metal pollutants Manual sorting best solution (shredded PWB may end in other fractions)
  • Toxic organic compounds in plastic fraction
    • high quantities of plastic (ca. 4000 tons/year) and
    • high concentration of HS (TBBP-A ca.18000 mg/kg; HBCDD ca. 174 mg/kg).
  • Metals and HS in plastic fraction obstacle for thermal treatment or recycling.
potential impacts from hs in weee
Potential impacts from HS in WEEE
  • WEEE treatment  Primary emissions
  • WEEE reaction products  secondary emissions
workers exposure
  • Classification of equipmentfailure in recognizing equipment containing HS  Accidental exposure via dermal contact/inhalation
  • Manual disassembly: long-term exposure to HS via inhalation of dust; HS from accidental breakage of equipment; dermal contact when cutting, breaking, handling the material.
  • Dust from shredding, exposure via inhalation/dermal contact

EXTREME SCARCITY OF DATA (e.g. For HS emissions; monitoring of indoor HS concentration e.g. in dust/air; biomonitoring)

impacts on human and environment
  • Primary& secondary emission from thermal treatment of
    • Contaminated plastic from WEEE sorting
    • EEE products collected with MSW (e.g. mobile phones)
  • Not yet quantifiable due to lack of data
    • HS Emissions and Fate
  • SFA first stage
    • Use of emission factors from literature for thermal treatment, landifll
    • Life Cycle Impact assessment method applied to SFA results
conclusions and perspectives
Conclusions and Perspectives
  • WEEE hazardous waste, growing amounts, changing composition, new products
  • Gaps in reporting and monitoring of WEEE flows
  • Incomplete info on HS substance content, specially for new HS (not inclued in RoHS)
  • SFA for facilities is possible with literature data  difficult to upscale to national
  • Recommended improvements:
    • Flow monitoring at National scale (Stocks & flow analysis)
    • Chemical analysis of WEEE composition (focus on new subst.)
    • Monitoring of indoor conc.,
    • Life Cycle impact assessment based on SFA data
thank you

Presentation based on the project and reportcitetbelow:

Pizzol, M., Hansen, M.S. & Thomsen, M. 2011.Greening of Electronics – Identification of hazardouscompounds. Danish EPA report, in press