Almost 25 thousand tons of electronic waste managed in 2019 with a recovery rate well above 90% and over 350 tons collected through proximity tools. Ecolight, the Italian national non-profit consortium for the management of electrical and electronic equipment waste (RAEE), presents the Social Report, a document that summarizes the activity carried out last year and from which great attention is paid to the issue of sustainability.
“Sustainability, which also gives the title to our eleventh Social Report, is balance”, says Ecolight president Walter Camarda. “The behaviour, the action, the choice to be sustainable has to take into account the environmental and economic impact; hence find a balance. With this awareness, Ecolight is operating for over 15 years involving not only the players in the RAEE supply-chain but also stimulating companies and citizens to correctly dispose of their electronic waste, to be then managed in circular economy logic”.
With 1,900 member companies, in 2019 Ecolight offered a timely and widespread service counting over 27 thousand missions mainly concentrated in the collection of small electronic waste such as cell phones, blenders, irons and energy-saving bulbs. “The commitment confirmed the consortium’s leading role in the collection of RAEE belonging to R4 and R5 grouping,” says Ecolight’s general manager Giancarlo Dezio.
“The operation was guaranteed not only through the RAEE Coordination Centre but also with the development of projects destined to the Distribution service. Through the so-called ‘One against One’ and ‘One against Zero’, shops are called to play an important role in the collection of hi-tech waste. The Consortium, serving more than 3,100 sales outlets, handled over 320 tons RAEE delivered to the store or collected from the client’s home in case of home delivery when purchasing equivalent electronic products. Furthermore, through 30 ‘Eco-Islands’ positioned close to important sale units or great flood areas, we have surveyed almost 30,000 people delivering more than 37 tons of small RAEE”.
The sustainability of the Consortium’s action was also supported by high recovery rates. “We have exceeded the 92% by weight” explains Dezio “This means that every 10 tons collected, 9 or more have been sent to the material-recovery process. Aiming to a concrete circular economy, that allowed us to reposition on the market, as secondary raw materials, more than 9,800 tons of aluminium, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, over 5,700 tons of plastics and almost 1,000 tons of glass, all obtained from RAEE treatment process”.
The commitment to the project supported by the Ministry of the Environment and developed with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia and Stena Recycling, which led to a qualitative and quantitative improvement in the recovery process of plastics contained in small RAEE. Despite the Covid-emergency and consequent lockdown in the first five months 2020, giving a 10% decrease in the collected volumes compared to the same period in 2019, Ecolight confirms the will to continue protecting the environment and supporting the companies. “Even if the European objectives given last year with a target of 65% are quite far, the trend of the Italian system in RAEE collection is positive. It is necessary to keep acting against possible parallel channels of RAEE collection which do not guarantee a correct management system or the respect for the environment. We have to keep raising citizens’ awareness, informing them about the importance of correctly conferring no longer working electronic products, maybe further enhancing the tools for collection proximity by the Distribution points or further placing Eco-Islands”.
Ecolight – established in 2004 – it is one of the major collective systems for the management of RAEE, Batteries and Accumulators. The Ecolight consortium gathers almost 1,900 companies and operates in a logic of cost-reduction and respect for the environment. It is also the first collective system in Italy which obtained ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 quality certifications. It is a reference point for large-scale distribution (GDO) and deals with all kind of RAEE.