Belgian not-for-profit organisation Recupel collected more than 117 000 tonnes of electronic e-scrap – including around 9.7 million light bulbs – for recycling in 2018. The collection association says this translates to 10.3 kg of e-scrap per person.
So far this year Recupel has recycled 89 383 tonnes of e-scrap and light bulbs. The organisation points out that up to 92% of a light bulb can be recycled.
Belgian families own on average 77 appliances, 10 of which are no longer being used according to a Recupel study. ‘If every family hands in one extra appliance this year, we will be taking a big step forward, says ceo Peter Sabbe. ‘That would mean about five million appliances being given a second lease of life.’
Hoping to further boost recycling rates, Recupel has launched a new awareness campaign titled ‘Hidden Gems’. Sabbe explains it is calling on consumers to take and share photos of ‘the best unknown locations’ all over the country (see pics below), to put them in the spotlight. The 10 best photographs will be announced on the Recupel website on 2 December.
Meanwhile, Recupel is calling attention to the fact that 226 524 refrigerators and freezers went ‘missing’ last year. This represents around 30% of these white goods, estimates Recupel’s PR specialist Saar Bentein. She notes that Belgian consumers purchused a total of 686 459 new fridges and freezers in 2018.
‘The problem is that there is still a grey area in the recycling sector – that results in products being processed by non-offical players,’ Bentein observes. Scrapyard owners, for example, are known to dismantle valuable electronics on-site to recover the metals inside, like copper. However, they are often not equipped with the necessary depollution equipment, causing chemicals and gasses to escape during treatment.