Ecolight: how to improve the WEEE system

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Walter Camarda, president of Ecolight.

More stringent controls, greater compliance with the rules and involvement of all producers: according to Ecolight, in this way the WEEE collection can reach the European targets and ensure an adequate management. Walter Camarda, president of the consortium, has indicated the path to be followed so that the WEEE system in Italy becomes even more virtuous. “There are still many aspects on which we can improve – said Camarda -: Ecolight, along with the other collective systems, has done a lot. Even more can be done to create a true circular economy”. “The electronic waste collection has been growing for some years at the national level – he added -. And this is a sign of an increased sensitivity during ten years. It is equally clear that Italy did not reach the European targets also for 2017. We need a greater commitment in terms of supervision: the phenomenon of the waste cannibalization penalizes the collective systems and the entire recycling chain. Furthermore, there are still large ‘gray areas’ where a parallel management of these wastes flourishes; management that operates outside the system and without compliance with the rules. Last but not least, a greater impulse is needed in the collection of small electronic waste. It is necessary to provide retailers with the right instruments so that they can perform the assigned collection task in the best possible way”. Camarda also highlighted the important role of the producers: “this is fundamental in the WEEE management: the producers, through the eco-contribution, support the collection and treatment activities. But there are two issues that need to be addressed: on the one hand there are still realities that, although called to contribute to the WEEE management, escape their obligations, penalizing the producers and retailers who responsibly participate. On the other hand there is the question of the open scope: the extension of the products affected by the WEEE legislation, which will come into force next August, requires further clarity in order to allow producers to act correctly for a greater environmental protection”. In 2017 Ecolight managed almost 24,000 tons of WEEE (+6% compared to the previous year): over 70% of waste belong to the R4 group, ie small household appliances and consumer electronics. “It was a demanding year that developed in continuity with the past – said the president of Ecolight -. But it was also a turning point for the consortium that consolidated its role on the national scene and at the same time looked to the future by opening new challenges: we were the promoters of a new consortium for polyethylene waste (EcoPolietilene); furthermore, with Ecolight Servizi we have enhanced the experience and skills acquired by the consortium by making them available to the companies for the collection, consulting and services dedicated to the professional waste”.
The consortium also engaged in the circular economy. “I can mention the European project we developed and that led to the introduction of innovative instruments for the collection of small electronic waste – explained Camarda -. Besides, the project we started with the University of Brescia and Stena Technoworld to improve the recovery of the plastic contained in WEEE is just a few weeks ago. This is a significant share from which, we are convinced, we could derive important quantities of secondary raw materials. About the theme of the proper treatment of electronic waste, Ecolight voluntarily joined the protocol which aims, with the collaboration of the partner plants, to improve the recovery levels; we are waiting, however, for the Decree that can officially regulate all the steps and thus become a norm to be respected”.

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