How El-Kretsen was born
In Sweden, the WEEE Directive was preceded by the establishment of an Ordinance on producer responsibility for electrical and electronic products. Overnight, the responsibility for transporting and recycling everything that was collected nationwide went from the municipalities to the producers. Different trade organisations quickly realized the advantage of producers joining force, and so El-Kretsen was created. To finance the collection, a first step was to contact different producers and let them get affiliated and pay environmental fees.
In the first few years, the recycling collections were running at a loss, but then, an increase in the world market price on materials in conjunction with refined recycling processes and the large volumes collected by El-Kretsen meant that the materials collected were conceded a value. The world market prices on metals and plastics can fluctuate drastically in a year, but a rough estimate is that materials sold represent 50 per cent of our earnings. The rest is made up of the environmental fees paid by the affiliated producers.
One of the mile-stones in El-Kretsen’s history was in 2006 when we established our analytical division. This meant that we were able to create our own statistical data of what had been collected. Since then, the statistics from the analytical division have provided us with information on the value of the collection as well as the cost of handling it (like, for example, knowing how many products have integrated batteries that need removing). As such, it has constituted a basis for procurement procedures.
In 2009, producer responsibility for batteries was added and producers became responsible for their comprehensive collection – unlike electrical and electronic products. All of a sudden, we had 10,000 battery boxes to administer and empty.
Like other companies, El-Kretsen has moved from fax machines and Excel sheets to digital portals. Today, we’re an IT-centred company handling large quantities of data via the portals used by the municipalities, transport carriers and producers. Our services have been gradually augmented to save on administration and increase the quality.
Today, the material that used to be buried is taken apart, sanitized and recycled – but we won’t stop here. Together with our producers and recyclers, we look to the future and work for even more resource-efficient recycling.