According to recent data, around 120 000 to 210 000 tonnes of electronic waste is generated annually in Greece. The corresponding amounts collected and managed through the Greek Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management system are around 39 000-56 000 tonnes annually.
WEEE contains significant amounts of dangerous substances, including heavy metals, PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls) and PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) that affect human health and ecosystems when released to the environment without proper management. Besides reducing the environmental burden, recovering a greater proportion of WEEE is also desirable to replace the valuable and sometimes rare raw materials used in the production of electrical products and appliances, which is in line with European policy objectives.
The LIFE RE-WEEE project aims to reduce WEEE through the implementation of prevention (reuse) and ?preparation for reuse? actions, and the development and demonstration of efficient sorting and preparation methods for reuse processes for a variety of WEEE, leading to an increased acceptance of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment (UEEE) by consumers.
The specific project objectives are to: Establish integrated reuse activities for WEEE management, through demonstrative operations in two WEEE sorting centres; Develop specifications and technical requirements based on Best Available Techniques (BATs) for the entire ?preparation for reuse? cycle, to be adopted by the relevant regulatory body in Greece (HRA) and to ensure the quality of UEEE; Prepare recommendations for policy measures at all relevant levels (retail management, local authority, national and EU legislation); Develop reliable tools at the EU level for the accurate measurement of WEEE reuse and preparation for reuse, to facilitate relevant discussions for target setting; Assess the level of WEEE reuse in Greece, before and after the project intervention, using these tools; Investigate and improve public attitudes towards WEEE prevention (donation and repair) and reuse (i.e. acceptance of second hand markets); Promote WEEE prevention culture in Greece; and Monitor and highlight the link between environmental, economic and social benefits associated with WEEE reuse and preparation for reuse.
Expected results: The main expected results of the LIFE RE-WEEE project are the following: The development and operation of two WEEE sorting facilities, the first of their kind in Greece, one in greater Athens and one in Thessaloniki, to sort 1 000 tonnes and 500 tonnes of WEEE per year, respectively, covering categories 5 (lighting equipment) and 6 (electrical and electronic goods) of the EU WEEE Directive; The pilot operation of these sorting facilities with category 4 WEEE (consumer equipment); The development of an EU-wide methodology and tools for measuring WEEE reuse and preparation for reuse, that could assist Member States in national reporting and the EU in setting relevant compulsory standards in future legislation; The accurate mapping of the baseline situation on WEEE reuse and preparation for reuse in Greece, which is currently based mainly on informal, small-scale private entrepreneurial initiatives; A set of specifications, protocols, technical requirements and guides based on best available techniques (BATs) for the entire ?preparation for reuse? cycle to be adopted during the project by the regulatory body, the HRA. These specifications will enable efficient permitting of facilities, assure their operation according to high environmental standards, and facilitate quality assurance of reused WEEE; The development of tools to promote WEEE prevention at the consumer level, through increasing awareness and opportunities for reliable repair; Promotion of new regulatory targets/standards for WEEE reuse and preparation for reuse, based on stakeholders? input and the accurate assessment tools; Improved awareness amongst consumers and other stakeholders on the preference for reuse rather than recycling WEEE; and Promotion of a WEEE prevention culture, based on social media and other attractive activities.