The growing mountain of e-waste is an issue of increasing concern. WEEE and batteries containing hazardous substances give rise to serious environmental pollution and health concerns if not sustainably managed. Furthermore, every product that is not collected for reuse or de-polluted and recycled represents a wasted opportunity in terms of loss of natural resources and energy, a decreasing supply of (critical and/or valuable) materials to feed into manufacturing, which in turn puts the sector’s resilience, the EU economy’s autonomy and jobs in jeopardy. WEEE and battery legislation have laid down ambitious collection and recovery targets. Yet, after twenty years of WEEE rules Member States are falling short of reaching the EU minimum collection rate of 65%. The EU is committed to improving the small WEEE collection rate in the frameworks of the European Green Deal.
WP1 - Project management and coordination
WP1 aims at ensuring a smooth overall coordination of the project, as well as an accurate financial management and timely implementation of the different activities across the 6 work packages throughout the execution of the project. For that, several coordination meetings within the consortium, with the European Commission, and with key external partners are being organised throughout ECOSWEEE. In addition to that management reports are elaborated, a Pilot Committee is established to monitor and manage the pilots planning and implementation under WP3, while the Advisory Board is responsible of reviewing the planning of activities, providing critical advice about the tasks, the implementation of pilots and its results and suggesting recommendations for policies.
WP2 - Background research on good practices, drivers and obstacles in the collection of small U/WEEE and batteries
The overall objective of WP2 is to provide background information for the start of the project, especially to support the design of the pilots (WP3) and in view of the exploitation of the pilots’ results (conclusions and recommendation under WP5). Partners involved are reviewing different take-back schemes using financial and other incentives, for the return of small U/WEEE and portable batteries in different EU Member States, analysing and comparing the different take-back schemes to identify good practices, preliminary assessing the role of PROs and distributors (including online) in setting-up such schemes and further investigating the key factors facilitating or hindering the return of small electronics and portable batteries at consumer level in different Member States.
WP2 research is focusing on small WEEE, with emphasis on CRM containing equipment (mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc.), and portable batteries.
WP3 - Design and performance of Pilots
WP3 is responsible for designing and conducting pilots testing collection systems, building upon the preliminary consultation with WF members and implementing partner carried out during the drafting of the proposal. WP3 is creating a detailed plan for each pilot and the learnings arising from every pilot will be collected in a report that will feed into WP4 and WP5. Pilots are intended to test collection systems for WEEE, portable batteries and small W/EEE for re-use, namely through strategies like deposit return, buy back, other reward schemes (e.g. donation), postal services, other collection routes, involvement of on-line retail, financial aspects such as visible fee, and improvement of collection network.
WP4 - Impact assessment
In WP4 the consortium is evaluating in a harmonized way the effectiveness of the different pilots, as well as of the different strategies employed, in order to determine what are the most effective pilots, the contextual factors that impacted their effectiveness and, by aggregating the results, the most effective strategies to facilitate access to small WEEE. After completing the impact assessment report, the partners involved intend to validate it with the whole consortium and other interested stakeholders during a workshop.
WP5 - Sustainability, replication and exploitation of project results
WP5 aims at delivering key conclusions and recommendations to relevant stakeholders, including the European Commission, Member States, relevant organisations at national level, and consumers and plan the afterlife of the project. Taking advantage of the outputs of WP2 and WP4, in WP5 partners are developing a clear and comprehensive exploitation plan of the project’s results, ensuring the sustainability of the project’s results at EU level, assuring the replicability of successful activities in all Member States and Allowing the transferability of the models developed to other types of wastes. These actions will raise awareness on the small U/WEEE and portable battery issue across consumers at EU level, support national stakeholders and EU Member States in the implementation of the take-back obligation under Article 5 of the WEEE Directive, feed the consultation process for the revision of the WEEE Directive and the Commission proposal on a Batteries Regulation and, ultimately, help increasing the recovery of secondary materials including Critical Raw Materials.
WP6 - Outreach and Stakeholder engagement
WP6 is accompanying all project activities, results and outputs throughout the lifespan of the project, aiming at maximizing the project impact in the target countries and globally. For this, the partners involved are developing a clear identity for LIFE-ECOSWEEE, designing and implementing a dissemination and communication strategy, connecting LIFE-ECOSWEEE with other relevant European and global networks/initiative, especially EU LIFE projects, in order to explore potential collaborations, creating a strong connection between LIFE-ECOSWEEE project and its stakeholders, communicating the overall benefits of the project to the general public and citizens and providing inputs for the revision of the WEEE Directive and the Commission proposal on a Batteries Regulation.
The WEEE Forum a.i.s.b.l. (WF) is an international association representing forty-six producer responsibility organisations (PROs) across the globe, which is based in Brussels and was founded in April 2002 preceding the entry into force of Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Together with its members, the WF is at the forefront of turning the extended producer responsibility principle into an effective electronic waste management policy approach through their combined knowledge of the technical, business, and operational aspects of collection, logistics, de-pollution, processing, preparing for reuse and reporting of e-waste. Their mission is to be the world’s foremost e-waste competence centre excelling in the implementation of the circularity principle.
The WF is the project coordinator. As a competence centre on e-waste issues, it provides a forum for its members to exchange learnings and benchmarking on WEEE management activities. It has an overview of the collection-related initiatives of most of its 45 member PROs. Several of them will be carrying out incentives-driven pilots for returning small WEEE and batteries within this project. WEEE Forum leads the WP on collection pilots (WP3) and will be involved in the recommendations and conclusions of the project (WP5). WF is deeply engaged in the outreach and networking activities (WP6).
Appliances Recycling S.A. is an official Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO) that organises, operates, and controls the management of the Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) of all categories in the entire Greek territory. The company was approved as WEEE PRO by the Ministry of Environment, Construction and Public Works in June 2004. Appliances Recycling S.A. coordinates all the stages of WEEE management, which include collection, transportation, temporary storage, separation, treatment and preparing for reuse of WEEE or/and their components, leading ultimately to the removal of hazardous substances and the reuse of recoverable materials as raw material in the production of new products.
The primary objective of ECYCLE is the contribution to the achievement of the National targets, as these are set by the European Union and the Greek legislation. In the project, they participate in the pilot design and implementation (WP3).
ECOTIC is the first and one of the most important collective schemes in Romania in e-waste management with 16 years of experience in the field. Throughout its activity, ECOTIC was a pioneer in what concerns innovative e-waste collection campaigns and market research studies that revealed various data regarding population perception and habits when it comes to e-waste disposal. ECOTIC organised over 800 collection and awareness-raising campaigns at national level, thus their expertise in campaign mechanisms and population approach towards e-waste disposal is vast.
Throughout ECOSWEEE, ECOTIC will cooperate in pilots’ design (WP3) and their performance analysis (WP4).
Electrão – Associação de Gestão de Resíduos is a non-profit producer responsibility organization (PRO). It is the only entity in Portugal who is assuming the management of 3 waste streams (WEEE, waste batteries and accumulators (WBA) and waste packaging) for more than 1300 members. Since its establishment, Electrão has become an expert in recycling solutions for the waste they are responsible for, a vital driver for innovation and an efficient waste management.
Electrão is the major take back system in Portugal for the management of waste of electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) managing and monitoring the entire value chain from collection points to waste treatment. In the specific flow of packaging waste, Electrão is participating in the national pilot incentive system (an initiative prior to the implementation of the SDR) as well as in several pilots for the implement of RVM for packaging. It is also a member of the WEEE Forum, Eucolight and Eucobat and will contribute to pilots’ design (WP3) and in the analysis of their performance (WP4).
ERION Compliance Organization (ECO) is the largest Italian system of Extended Producer Responsibility for the management of waste associated with electronic products and batteries and the valorisation of the raw materials within it. ECO ensures waste management and regulatory compliance to more than 2,400 Producers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) and Batteries and Accumulators throughout Italy.
ECO will lead the pilot activities on WEEE and Batteries in Italy (WP3) and will be investigating consumer behaviours in respect of the different disposal possibilities, contributing to the identification of learnings from pilots (WP4).
Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. With over 16,000 employees and 300 offices in 35 countries, it emphasises local experience combined with a global knowledge-base. It combines local expertise and global know-how in the business units Buildings & Design, Transport & Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Design, Water, Environment & Health, and Management Consulting.
Ramboll Environment Health GmbH (REH) is based in Munich. In their service field of resource and waste management, Ramboll is predominantly active on behalf of public bodies. The team completed several studies on WEEE on behalf of the European Commission in the past years, and has very good expertise and experience in the fields of European policy, waste management, circular economy, as well as WEEE policy and practice.
With its advanced expertise and experience in the fields of WEEE policy and practice and involvement in the 2022 EU study on small WEEE, Ramboll will lead the mapping of collection practices (WP2), support the pilots design and implementation (WP3), the assessment of the pilots (WP4) and the development of the project conclusion and recommendations (WP5).
The Organisation for Producer Responsibility for E-waste Netherlands (OPEN) is a member of the WEEE Forum and implements the legal producer responsibility for e-waste on behalf of all producers of electrical appliances in the Netherlands. Since 1 March 2021, the OPEN Foundation is responsible for the collection and recycling of all e-waste in the Netherlands on behalf of all producers of electrical appliances. Together with partners they are joining forces to collect at least two-thirds of all e-waste.
Under the flag of Wecycle, the OPEN Foundation keeps running campaigns to encourage consumers and companies to separate and hand in e-waste and energy-efficient lighting at one of the 13,000 Wecycle collection points.
OPEN’s main contribution to the project will be on WP3, as one of the partners participating in the design and implementation of the pilots.
Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) is a consulting firm established in 1996, with a deep knowledge of the private and public sectors, as well as the processes that allow its clients to foster innovation, be competitive and generate growth. Combining in-depth knowledge of local contexts with a strong international vision of the real-world setting, SPI structures its activities in 4 areas: Innovation, Science and Technology, Territorial Development, Tourism and Agriculture. SPI supports the needs of its clients through the effective management of knowledge and a range of well-established capabilities across many fields, enabling the development of a unique portfolio of successful projects.
Based on SPI’s extensive experience in the implementation of EU projects, internationalisation and communication activities, SPI supports WEEE Forum with the administrative and logistics management of the project, by providing a structure for internal communication, support to the partners, and contributing to the organisation of internal meetings (WP1). SPI will use its expertise in evaluation assessments to contribute to the impact analysis, contributing to the organisation of the Transferability & Replicability workshop (WP5). Finally, SPI coordinates all outreach activities, dedicating a specialised design team to develop all necessary materials (WP6).
GRS Batterien (GRS) stands for the safe, area-wide and environmentally compatible take-back, sorting and recycling of batteries. In cooperation with a large collection network and service providers in logistics, sorting, and recycling, GRS ensures efficiency and safety. As a collection scheme provider, GRS fulfils the complete legal product responsibilities for their clients portable or industrial battery products, in accordance with the German Battery Act. By setting up voluntary take-back systems for the growing market of industrial lithium batteries, GRS has taken into account the increasing safety requirements at an early stage.
In the project, GRS will compare different incentive systems and investigate how collection rates can be increased (WP3, WP4).
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is operating in this project through its SCYCLE Programme under the UNITAR Bonn office, which recently transitioned from the United Nations University. UNITAR SCYCLE’s mission is to promote sustainable societies. Its activities focus on the development of sustainable production, consumption, and disposal patterns for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), as well as for other ubiquitous goods. SCYCLE leads the global e-waste discussion and advances sustainable e-waste management strategies based on life-cycle thinking. It has a unique position in the fields of waste and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) statistics.
UNITAR SCYCLE supports WEEE Forum with the technical management of the project by ensuring that the deliverables, milestones, and tasks are completed qualitatively, effectively, and on time and that the overall research objectives of the project are being met (WP1). Building on experience from past projects and its wide network, UNITAR coordinates the Advisory Board (WP1). UNITAR leads the research activities (WP2), as well as the development of the recommendations and conclusions emerging from the research and pilots’ implementation and their replicability/transferability (WP5). UNITAR will support the pilots’ design and implementation (WP3) and the development of the impact assessment report (WP4). Using its global network, UNITAR is involved in communication and dissemination activities (WP6).
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Ltd (WEEE Ireland) is an international association representing forty-six producer responsibility organisations (PROs) across the globe. It involves an Extended Producer Responsibility Compliance Scheme operating in Ireland under Government Approval on behalf of Electronic and Electrical Equipment and Battery Producers. Key operations include takeback for recycling and recovery of e-waste, national collection network development, and consumer awareness campaigns.
Together with their members, they are at the forefront of turning the extended producer responsibility principle into an effective electronic waste management policy approach through the combined knowledge of the technical, business, and operational aspects of collection, logistics, de-pollution, processing, and preparing for reuse. WEEE Ireland will participate in the pilot’s design and implementation (WP3) and contribute to the analysis and identification of good practices (WP4).
The company ZEOS is a national non-profit joint scheme for the management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), waste portable batteries and accumulators (WPBA) and waste grave candles. It was established in 2005 based on the requirements of the 2002/96/ES Directive, by manufacturers of EEE. It was decided that its operation was focused on long-term efficient fulfilment of obligations arising from the EU and national legislation. With a wide network of waste collection, ZEOS conducts over 10,000 collections of waste per year and submits them for processing through subcontractors.
The results of ZEOS activities are reflected by yearly growth of the quantity of collected waste and in the increasingly efficient organisation of waste collection processes, which capacitates them to participate in the pilot’s design and implementation (WP3). It is also worth mentioning that ZEOS is a member of the WEEE Forum.