We collect 400 tonnes each day
We don’t stop caring once we’ve collected the WEEE. On the contrary, this is where the most important part of our work starts, and that’s the sanitization of products. We remove the hazardous waste and send as large a part of the materials as possible for use in producing new items. Almost 100 per cent of all collected consumer electronics in Sweden is collected through El-Kretsen, so we are well aware that our business plays an important part in Swedish society as well as for the environment. On this page, we have gathered information about the recycling work we and others do, and about the way the environment benefits daily from what we do.
Trends and lessons learnt
Were things better in the old days? Yes, at least for those who wanted to make money on the materials collected from WEEE.
Today, metals are being replaced by plastics. This results in lighter products made of more composite materials. Alloys and laminates are proof of how things have developed, but they also provide an increased challenge from a recycling perspective. Being able to separate the components and restore them to their original state is often a technical challenge requiring a lot of energy. How to tackle this is a major question for the industry as a whole, and one we need to debate and look into to be able to create an efficient materials recovery process for today’s products before they become tomorrow’s waste.
Assorted electrical goods development
pieces towards kg
Where scrap becomes statistics
How many mobile phones do we collect in a year? What’s the average age of all the television sets thrown out? What’s the weight of your average cage of WEEE?
Most statistics on WEEE in Sweden are likely to have been generated by our own analytical division. Around 2 per cent of the assorted electronics collected finds its way here to be turned into statistics and provide us with information. This information is used to make sure our pre-treaters receive the correct compensation for their work, but also to map out how our waste changes over time. Among other things, we keep a running tab on kinds of materials, average age and weight per product.
We know that many electrical and electronic products get a second or even third lease of life on the second-hand market. Many municipalities have complemented their recycling stations with second-hand collection units for items that can be reused and which other people can benefit from. But how much of what ends up in El-Kretsen’s containers really works? To find out, we carried out a functionality test in 2015, where we studied 2 tonnes of small household appliances.
Age of products collected
Approximately 79 percent of all television sets that collects are CRT TVs, despite the fact that it is now a long time since retailers sold their last ones. This shows how long it takes us to start regarding our belongings as waste and hand them in to be recycled.
This table shows the median ages of some products which are commonly found in our collections.
Material content of different products
The materials used in production vary between different products as well as over time. We find it useful to know what the waste we collect and recycle is made of – partly to map out any hazardous substances that require special handling, and partly because there is a financial aspect to studying which products actually contain something of value and which only show up as a cost in the recycling process.
The product information below show examples of how individual products have been taken apart to produce data relating to the materials involved and the age of the products.