Background: WEEE und ElektroG

As a specialist for multi-metal and quality recycling, Aurubis is a forerunner in responsibly processing electronic scrap.

The EU’s WEEE Directive for Electrical and Electronic Waste aims to counter the increasing amounts of electronic waste in a responsible way. The processes involved are varied – from measures to prevent the illegal export of electronic waste and keeping raw materials in the material cycle, to developing treatment standards for copper and precious metal-bearing secondary raw materials, and research projects looking at metal recovery.

Under the auspices of the European Electronics Recyclers Association and Eurometaux, therefore, there has arisen a voluntary standard for the treatment or processing of precious metal-bearing WEEE components such as printed circuit boards. This WEEE End Processor Standard aims to ensure global competition for the recycling of electronic waste using state-of-the art technology.

Aurubis and three other companies signed up to the standard in September 2014. This means that the Group has agreed to implement all of the requirements at its facilities processing electronic waste and to have this process audited by an independent auditor.

In its Sustainability Strategy, Aurubis also gave itself the aim of becoming audited and certified according to the WEEE End Processor Standard by 2016 – but had already achieved this target in 2015. This means that Aurubis is making a major contribution towards the circular economy and towards establishing internationally approved recycling and disposal processes.

A look to the future: The EU has commissioned CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) with translating the EERA standard into an EU norm from the ISO 50625 series. This means we can expect that the entire processing chain – from electrical and electronic waste to the collection, initial treatment, preparation and final processing – will have to fulfill an EU-wide quality standard. Aurubis Lünen has already proven this processing quality by acquiring the certification.

New ElektroG German Electronic Waste Directive: electronic devices must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way – for example, by Aurubis

The European WEEE Directive has been picked up by the German government, which has now adapted the German ElektroG Electronic Waste Directive to reflect it. As a specialist in multi-metal recycling, Aurubis is well prepared to take on the responsible processing of electronic waste.

The law, which entered into force on October 24, 2015, aims to reduce the amount of electronic products ending up in household waste. In addition to the manufacturers, the import and export business, as well as retailers of electrical and electronic products, are also responsible for the entire lifecycle of electronic products. The consumers are also obliged to dispose of their old electrical and electronic goods separately from the rest of the household waste. Returning such items has been made easier: The devices can either be handed in at local collection points for free or consumers can make use of the manufacturer’s or retailer’s return system for electrical and electronic products. Retailers can then have the old devices recycled via recycling specialists such as Aurubis, the manufacturer or public recycling companies – a major contribution towards improving the circular economy.


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