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A new era for e-cycling in Europe?

Europe – Aurubis, Boliden, Glencore and Umicore – four of the largest copper and precious metals refiners – have collaborated with the European Electronics Recyclers Association (EERA) and the European non-ferrous metals association Eurometaux to define normative requirements and governing principles for e-scrap treatment. The result is the ‘WEEE end-processing standard’, which was finalised in the spring.

The metals refiners have now signed an agreement at EERA′s 10th anniversary congress in Brussels on September 18 to implement the standard into their total quality management within the next two years. The aim is to create a level playing field for e-cycling in Europe. EERA is hoping other end-refiners will become signatories to the standard and is encouraging wider stakeholders ′to reference it as a requirement in their contracts with WEEE take-back systems, WEEE recyclers or end-processors′.

Aurubis′ ceo Peter Willbrandt* notes: ′Environment protection is one of the pillars of our corporate policy. Sustainable management of our business and operations is a central element of our strategy. Therefore we welcome the new standard and express our sincere hope that further companies and associations will become signatories to the present standard.′

Boliden is ′very proud′ to have been party to the development of the end-processing standard, according to company president Kerstin Konradsson. ′By complying with this new recycling standard, we believe that further steps towards a more sustainable society are taken.′

Umicore believes the initiative will undermine inappropriate recycling operations that rely on environmentally unsound and unethical sourcing, adds its executive vice-president of recycling Hugo Morel.

′Sustainable management of resources is a must in our industry, and the standard being signed today a demonstration that it can only be achieved through rigorous and constant controls,′ says Claude Bélanger, general manager of Glencore company Horne Smelter.

*In other news, Peter Willbrandt, ceo of leading copper recycler Aurubis, has informed the company that he will not be available for an extension of his board membership after March 31 next year owing to personal reasons. The supervisory board has expressed its regret at this decision but will immediately enter into succession planning.

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