Did you ask buyers?
WEEE that can be reused, refurbished or remanufactured is collected via trade. Trade is done mostly by traders or OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Traders can cooperate with charitable organizations. These social organisations get a percentage when they (help) collect WEEE. Companies who collect their WEEE via these social organisations, get a “warm glow”; a feel-good motivation for the company. In many cases EEE or parts of EEE (e.g. circuit boards) are collected by scrap traders, in compliance with the law or demands of the customer (e.g. data destruction). You find buyers on among the traders and services.
Did you ask your supplier for take back schemes
Did you consider other than buying your equipment?
The traditional business model of electric or electronic equipment (EEE) is selling. In this system trace-ability of the EEE stops at the point of sale. With return systems, collection schemes, and trade EEE is, hopefully, collected. New business models such as leasing or renting, including maintenance and replacement, are currently entering the market. The customer does not pay for a product, but for the function a product performs (also known as product-service system). This implies not paying for for example computer ownership, but for the use of a computer for a certain period, e.g., 2 years. This business model is also called “pay-per-use”. After the lease or renting period, the product is sent back for further leasing, remanufacturing or recycling. Your company does not have any issues with discarding the EEE.
Are you a producer of electric/electronic equipment? Tracking and tracing: tools
By tracking and tracing EEE, the chance of returning obsolete EEE for reuse or recycling increases. Different systems have been developed recently. These three cases could help your organization.
Knowing as a producer or manufacture where possible obsolete products are, could help the collection. Examples are not in WEEE, but in obsolete office furniture. The challenges in collecting the furniture for reuse, remanufacturing or refurbishment are similar, due to the size, weight and collection area (offices) of the products. Office chairs are collected by manufacturers by offering the residual value of the chairs. This approach works when the manufacturer knows the end-customer, and therefore where the chairs are. When the chairs are distributed by the dealers from their own storage, which is the case for smaller quantities of chairs, then this approach does not always work. In many cases the dealers also resell used office chairs. Chairs are also bought up by traders that buy whole inventories. For facility managers this option is very easy to manage and therefore quite popular. Convenience in management is important for the customer (facility manager). A furniture manufacturer makes an inventory at their customers when office furniture is disposed of. In these cases also the location is known. Other producers of electric equipment use their customer network to buy up and/or collect obsolete equipment for refurbishment or remanufacturing. Both companies also perform overhaul work for their customers.
MyHomeServices builds up an asset management system for the consumer. The company offers an app that registers the electrical equipment at the moment of purchase in a shop. The app holds the receipt, manual, warranty card and all kinds of other functions. The app also shows the premium a customer gets when electrical equipment is being brought back. MyHomeServices is a new company and growing now from a start-up tot a scale-up. The customers of MyHomeService are the EEE-sales organisations, that (hope to) have a better customer relationship and save on service costs. With handbooks, manuals and demonstration films this app offers, the customer does not have to call the helpdesk of the EEE-sales organisations. The EEE-sales organisations will save on service costs and help desks. This is a significant part of their turn over (between 2 to 6%). MyHomeService‘s app can be applied to the B2B market.
Circularise is a start-up that developed an app which scans the data on electrical equipment. This can be a QR-code or a bar-code. The app provides information about this equipment, such as user and repair manuals (films). The information placed by the producer and other parties (for example remanufacturers) is shared via block chain technology that protects sensitive information, and runs on the parties’ own server. Information is added by all parties in the value chain, without the risk of losing classified information. There is no communication from a central point. The system makes it possible to track and trace equipment. Currently Circularise is focussed at consumer products, on the longer term they will also address B2B.
In the Netherlands parts and products (e.g. boilers) of the installation industry are put into a database by company 2BA. This database is used by installers, architectural bureaus, and other customers. The information in the database gives them the right units, sizes and shapes for ordering, making drawings etc., saving the customers time and errors. The system does not offer tracking or tracing, but can offer technical data when products are brought back for reuse. The database could also be used to give information about EEE for repair and refurbishment. However, this information could be sensitive for the OEM’s when the products are brought back for reuse by a third party. These third parties are seen as competitors by the OEM’s.
Are you a builder or demolisher?
Also in building and demolishing projects electronic equipment can be a source of income.
At demolishing projects more and more specialized companies are involved to take out usable electronic equipment, within the very small time frame these companies have before demolishing.
Case: the Démoclès project
The French Démoclès project is a project that ended in autumn 2016. It covered 40 organizations in building and demolition sector. The aim of the project was to contribute tackling the challenge of the low recycling rates of demolition waste. It aimed to identify the types of waste available on demolition sites, the required handling of each waste category and the role of each of the on-site collaborators in handling these waste streams. WEEE represent less than 3% of the demolition waste but need to be handled as a single stream and should not be mixed with other waste. Three main conclusions have been drawn from the project:
- The project managers of the demolition site do not feel involved in the management of demolition waste, while they are responsible by law to correctly handle them. Their involvement is key and dialogue is necessary between project managers, workers and recyclers.
- Demolition waste is mainly collected in containers and therefore all waste streams are mixed. It results in the contamination of inert waste with dangerous waste and to a lower recycling rate due to a lower purity.
- The collection in containers results in hidden costs for the demolition project. Smaller containers for each type of waste that need to be collected separately should be installed on-site.
The Démoclès project recommends clarifying the responsibility of each actor on-site (e.g., the project manager should make sure that the company is charge of collecting the waste has fulfilled its tasks as proposed in the commercial offer, the waste streams should be monitored by the project management team etc.), train project managers to waste management, implement the separate collection of different waste streams in small containers on-site.