Circular economy

New purpose for discarded electrical and electronic equipment

Collection point, repair service, social enterprise: Electro SOFIE does it all. This company from Liège gives household appliances a second life and, in doing so, employs dozens of people. “We create ecological, economic and social added value.”

Broken washing machine? For many people, this is the signal to buy a new appliance. The broken appliance then ends up in the recycling park. What happens next? Electro SOFIE, a repair and collection point for electrical and electronic devices in Grâce-Hollogne, Liège, focuses as much as possible on reuse.

Michel Simon, Director-General of Electro SOFIE: “As a Recupel partner, we collect discarded electrical and electronic appliances. We do this both at recycling parks and at retailers in the province of Liège. We sort all the appliances we receive at our workshop. Cheap brands, rusty appliances, or excessively damaged appliances go to Recupel, which then has its partners recycle them. Newer, quality-brand appliances and devices that can be repaired or that still contain usable parts are handled by our technicians. We give these appliances a second life.”

This is how a discarded washing machine, for example, can re-enter circulation for sale on the second-hand market. But before that can happen, it must go through many steps at Electro SOFIE. “Each and every one of our technicians is a professional who is able to thoroughly examine each machine,” says Simon. “They check whether the device is eligible for full repair. Sometimes this is not possible, although it may still contain parts that we store in our inventory. These parts often come in handy later on. The appliances that our technicians can repair are then carefully cleaned and thoroughly tested. With washing machines, they sometimes even do attest with a load before offering them for sale. That way we know for sure that the customer is taking home a quality product.”

A third of the price

The reconditioned appliances are sold on-site in Grâce-Hollogne. In addition to the 1,000 m² stockroom and the 500 m² workshop, Electro SOFIE has a 400 m² showroom, the R SHOP Country. “We also have a showroom in Liège, the R SHOP City. There, you can buy second-hand furniture, trinkets, tableware and books collected by the Ressourcerie du Pays de Liège. This allows us to continuously offer some 500 devices for sale at affordable prices. In our shops, you pay only a third of the price of a new machine. What’s more, we also offer a one-year warranty.”

From repair to dismantling

Each year, Electro SOFIE’s technicians repair no less than 3,500 large electrical appliances; washing machines, but also tumble dryers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators and ovens. “In addition to these, you will also find small electrical and electronic devices, and we also offer a repair service for private individuals,” Simon says. “Anyone who has a broken appliance at home can come to us for repairs at an affordable price. We have a massive inventory of spare parts from discarded appliances. And our people know the different brands and models like the backs of their hands. So, our repair service is the ideal way to avoid the cost of a new purchase and to extend the service life of your appliances.”

Besides reconditioning and repairing small and large electrical and electronic appliances, Electro SOFIE has also developed another activity. As a subcontractor to Recydel in Wandre, they refurbish small electrical appliances and dismantle refrigerators. “On behalf of Recupel, Recydel recycles discarded electrical and electronic equipment into high-quality secondary raw materials. In this way, we make our contribution to upgrading waste streams.”

More info on