Get started: Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle
Internal waste management can be organized by the typical Plan-Do-Check-Act-loop:
- Measure the amount of WEEE available in a company, regularly check the containers for residual waste, make a plan on WEEE collection including communication to personnel. This usually has more impact when other residual materials are collected (plastics, wood etc.) (Plan);
- Place collection bins/containers for WEEE. Communicate to personnel. Organise collection of WEEE (Do);
- Measure/check the amount of WEEE collected and check containers residual waste. (Check);
- Adjust and improve plan if necessary based on measurements (Act).
Case VU Amsterdam
At the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) office furniture and ICT-equipment are donated to charity organisations. Other WEEE is bought by a waste collector (Icova). At this moment (June 2017) an overview of equipment of less than 2 years old is available, but not of older equipment. A complete overview at the VU helps to make an estimate on the value of the assets and the most optimal method of discarding. In the procurement, environmental aspects (“green office”) becomes more important, which includes environmental responsibility in discarding WEEE.
Re-use ICT equipment and confidentiality
When it comes to valorise the residual value of WEEE, is data safety as discarded WEEE such as computers often contain confidential information. The Dutch government researched data erasure in relation to this matter. This research led to the following conclusions:
- Data erasure is possible (use certified software); (links)
- There are costs involved and the yield of the ‘refurbished’ IT items is not always enough to cover the costs (old models, incomplete);
- The key is the operational management of the IT items in the organization. They should be treated as valuable, also when discarded off internally. Persons should know –and act accordingly- that these items will be sold to be re-used.
For large organisations or cooperatives : Redistribution
EEE and other goods are also reused within the company. For larger companies the overview of EEE as assets is not always clear, especially for smaller assets such as computers, monitors, measuring equipment etc. For these redistribution systems have been developed. Such a system could be a simple market-place website on the internal web connection (intranet) of the company.
The national government of the Netherland is situated in The Hague. All the ministries are situated there while other bodies of the national government are situated in other cities. It is difficult to have an overview of smaller assets. When assets become obsolete, they are put on the second hand market by the Dutch Domains. Recently the national Dutch government launched an internal “market place” on their intranet for facility managers, to see if any useful discarded products are to be found. In the pilot year this website saved 2 million Euro.