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Recupel & IPP: a sustainable collaboration

IPP has been supplying Recupel with pallet boxes since 2007, for the safe and efficient collection and transport of waste electrical and electronic equipment. With common values e.g. circular entrepreneurship and always going the extra mile for each other, the partnership is still going strong. ‘Our collaboration is going extremely well – the future is very promising,’ says Eric Dewaet, ceo of Recupel.

In the early 2000s, Belgium introduced a policy whereby any company which produces or imports electronic equipment is required to take it back at the end of its lifespan and to ensure that it is disposed of properly and safely. Recupel was set up to fulfil this requirement across Belgium and since then has taken care of the collection and treatment of old electronic equipment, working with a vast network of partners, including traders, local authorities, second-hand shops and other recycling companies.

Recupel’s efforts are paying off and the amount of tonnes the organisation manages to collect reflects this. Dewaet says: ‘Each year, we take care of the collection and treatment of more than 120 000 tonnes of e-waste, which comes in all shapes and sizes. That is why the collection depot is so important.’

The journey of discarded electronics

The non-profit organisation soon realised that it needed a solid receptacle solution to transport and collect the waste in this circular chain – and turned to IPP for help. ‘We have been working with IPP since 2007. Together we have developed the boxes into what they are today and we are very satisfied with them,’ Dewaet remarks. ‘IPP boxes are used to collect and transport discarded appliances. The boxes are located at different sites, including waste recycling centres and are used within the distribution sector.’

According to Hans De Bont, team lead logistics at Recupel, the boxes have since become an inseparable part of Recupel’s daily activities: With more than 30 000 boxes from IPP, we can ensure that everything is transported smoothly at Recupel every day. But have you ever thought about what happens to e-waste that’s been deposited at the waste recycling centre?

De Bont explains: ‘The consumer throws away their old radio or old television in an IPP box. Recupel’s haulier comes to collect the box and takes it to a recycler. Once there, the batteries are removed and the device goes onto the conveyor belt for further disassembly. That means all the raw materials are recovered which can then be used to make new appliances.’

Sustainability in every step of the chain is of paramount importance to Recupel. De Bont confirms: ‘When choosing a partner, the sustainable aspect is important to us. Because the boxes that IPP provides are of a high quality and can be used repeatedly, its rental model fits in perfectly with our objectives. This is why have chosen to extend our cooperation with IPP.’

Erik van Geloven, IPP’s key account manager, emphasises that the company’s focus also lies on sustainability. ‘IPP and Recupel have been working together for fourteen years. We find sustainability extremely important and we help each other to achieve objectives.’ In that sense, the businesses share many similarities: both attach great importance to corporate social responsibility and form an important link in the circular chain.

Bright future

Besides the fact that the IPP box is part of the circular economy, Recupel experiences several advantages when working with IPP and the IPP box. De Bont comments: ‘The IPP box consists of several separate parts, which makes it easy to disassemble. This is important for collection points and for the recycler. You are able to disassemble and remove the parts of the box, making it very easy to take devices out of the box.’

IPP is a good partner because they always ensure there are enough boxes in circulation. Repair and maintenance of the boxes is also done in a quick and orderly fashion and they are delivered at a high quality level. ‘When a box needs repair, we can go to ‘t Veer. There they repair the wooden parts, but also the hooks and so on,’ De Bont adds. ‘The delicate parts of the box are fixed, so that the box can be brought back into the chain.’

With common values such as circular entrepreneurship and always going the extra mile for each other, the collaboration is still going strong. ‘Our collaboration is going extremely well. We know how to find each other when challenges arise and we communicate well with each other,’ Dewaet concludes. ‘IPP is a very approachable partner and we raise points together and strive for improvement through regular meetings. We are heading towards a bright future together.’

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