Logistics: Collection and Recycling of EEE

7.1   Ruling procedure (700000)

Contracting partners can ask Recupel for a ruling about the application of the membership agreements and appliance lists.

It is the intention that these requests are only made for special situations or for products for which there can be a doubt about the valid classification on the basis of the appliance lists.
The advantage of such a decision is that it is binding to the management organisation.

Information received other than through the ruling procedure is provided only for information and is not binding to the management organisation.

The request for a ruling must be submitted through a special form link to formula and must be extensively explained (e.g., technical description of the item about which a question is asked, photo of the relevant appliance etc.).

Ruling decisions are made by the general manager of Recupel vzw (or a representative) and the chairman of the board of directors of the relevant management organisation (or a representative).

Only a written decision signed by the competent persons is valid as a ruling. For agreements or information obtained in the past (before 3 January 2007) a binding ruling can be requested for the future.
Information obtained in the past must not be respected by the management organisation if no binding ruling was obtained to this effect before 31 December 2007.

7.2   Where can I take my domestic WEEE? (811000)

The location where you can take domestic WEEE differs depending on whether you are a private party or a retailer and also on whether the appliance can still be used or not.

7.3   Where can I take my domestic WEEE as a private party? (811010)

The collection of domestic WEEE takes place by the sellers of appliances (who take back the old appliance with the purchase of a new similar appliance), in container parks and through social establishments (used-good centres), which select in advance the appliances that are still working. For further information, click here.

7.4   Whom can private parties turn to for the pickup of their domestic WEEE? (811011)

During home delivery of a new appliance, the old appliance can be given to the supplier.

Reusable appliances can also be picked up by a used-good centre.

Brussels residents can call on Bruxelles Propreté.

In other cases domestic WEEE will in theory not be picked up from private parties.
Private parties must turn to their intermunicipal company or municipal container park or contact a used-good centre in their neighbourhood.

7.5   Does Recupel pick up domestic WEEE from private parties? (811012)

Private parties do not have direct access to Recupel's logistics services.

Recupel will therefore not pick up household WEEE from private homes.

7.6   Where can I take my domestic WEEE as a retailer? (811020 )

Retailers can register free of charge with Recupel as a collection point if they meet the pick-up conditions .
In this case, domestic WEEE are picked up from them on demand (by means of a transport request on www.recupel.be) free of charge.

You can deposit small amounts of household WEEE at your container park for free, subject to the municipality's or intermunicipal company's approval. In some regions, unlimited amounts of household WEEE are accepted at the regional transfer station (RTS). As end trader, you also have the possibility to bring unlimited amounts of your domestic WEEE to a private transfer station (private RTS) or have them picked up by its manager. If the appliances are still usable, you can always appeal to a used-good centre that will recover your appliance and give it a second life.

7.7   As a retailer, can I turn to wholesalers with the appliances that I have taken back? (811021)

Retailers that do not qualify to be a collection point, can turn to a RTS, at specific container parks, at used-goods centres or at a private RTS .

They can also ask their supplier to take back the WEEE.
Wholesalers cannot refuse this when similar, new appliances are bought.
In such cases, the transport of WEEE is borne by the wholesaler.

The wholesaler may refuse to take back WEEE when the retailer does not purchase similar new appliances.

7.8   Is the seller forced to accept WEEE even when no Recupel contribution was paid with the purchase? (811110)

Sellers of domestic EEE may not refuse to take back WEEE when the buyer buys a similar product.

It is not required that a Recupel contribution was paid for the appliance, since the contribution in the start-up stage, and until the end of 2006, took into account the so-called "historical waste".

7.9   Is the take back by the seller of EEE free? (811120)

The seller (retailer or distribution) must accept a WEEE free of charge, if the consumer buys a similar new appliance from them.

Even for home delivery of an EEE the free take-back obligation applies and the merchants must pick up the old appliance.

7.10   As an importer/manufacturer, how can I charge the processing costs of my professional electrical and electronic appliances to my customer? (811130)

With regard to the financing of the processing of appliances purchased before 13/08/05: on purchase of a new appliance, the take-back costs are to be borne by the importer/manufacturer (1 for 1).

Without purchase of a new appliance, the professional end user must itself be responsible for the processing of the appliance (1 for 0).

With regard to the financing of the processing of appliances purchased after 13/08/05: these remain at the expense of the manufacturer/importer. Take-back: this is always at the expense of the manufacturer/importer, who can make use of the possibilities of the Recupel charter.

The legislation gives manufacturers and/or importers the possibility to charge these costs to the customer via the purchase conditions. Below you will find a provision proposal.

Proposed provision to be placed on the order form in connection with the acceptance obligation for waste professional electrical and electronic appliances

Professional electrical and electronic appliances

For the performance of the acceptance obligation for professional electrical and electronic appliances, COMPANY is a member of RECUPEL and pays an administrative contribution for this.

The customer shall undertake to bear any possible costs for the collection and processing of both the professional electrical and electronic appliances that form the subject of this order form when these are discarded and for the discarded electrical and electronic appliances that are thus replaced.

In order to comply with waste products legislation, the customer can call upon an operator with whom RECUPEL has concluded a Charter (www.recupel.be). If desired, COMPANY can put the customer in contact with an operator for a price quote.

7.11   Is access to container parks free? (811210)

Municipalities and intermunicipal companies have concluded an agreement with Recupel, resulting in the fact that private individuals and, in some cases also merchants, have free access to container parks for discarding limited quantities of WEEE. Some container parks open their doors at specific times exclusively for SMEs.

For more information on the working of the municipal or intermunicipal container park, please contact the competent municipality or intermunicipal company.

7.12   Is there a list of container parks with Recupel containers? (811220)

No, but on the Recupel website there is a list of intermunicipal companies. Further information about Recupel containers in your area can be obtained from the intermunicipal company in your neighbourhood.

7.13   Where can appliances be left if no similar appliances are purchased? (811230)

Private individuals can take waste electrical and electronic appliances, free of charge, to the container parks in their municipalities.

For more information on the working of the municipal or intermunicipal container park, please contact the competent municipality or intermunicipal company.

7.14   Whom can intermunicipal companies turn to for the pick-up of their WEEE? (811240)

The container parks, working together with Recupel, turn to Recupel for the pick-up of their containers or box pallets.

7.15   How do the intermunicipal companies and the municipalities work with Recupel? (811250)

Recupel has a contract with the intermunicipal companies and with the municipalities about the free pick-up and storage of WEEE, as well as about the availability of a space for placing containers and box pallets for the deposit of WEEE.

Some intermunicipal companies/municipalities run a RTS and ensure the centralisation of WEEE.

When a pick-up is required the intermunicipal companies/municipalities turn to Recupel with a transport request.
They receive new empty containers and box pallets from the transporter, who picks up the full containers/box pallets.

7.16   How are local administrations compensated for the pick-up of WEEE? (811260)

The local authorities (municipalities, intermunicipal waste companies) are compensated in accordance with actual costs.

That is why local administrations receive e.g., compensation for the information provided by their park guards to consumers in the container park.

7.17   Are container parks and municipalities or intermunicipal companies interdependent? (811270)

In Wallonia, most container parks depend on intermunicipal companies.

In Flanders, a mixed system is in place: container parks either depend on the intermunicipal company or on the municipality (technical and health service).

Most often an intermunicipal company supervises several container parks.
Personnel in a container park can therefore, depending on the case, depend on a municipality or on an intermunicipal company.

7.18   Which appliances can be taken to a used-good centre? (811310)

Reusable electrical and electronic appliances can be entrusted to a used-good centre.

Once repaired, these appliances are sold at lower prices by the used-good centres.

7.19   How do the WEEE get to the used-good centres? (811320)

The goods can be taken to used-good centres or their teams can pick up the goods at home upon request.

At the RTS/FTS, the WEEE are pre-sorted by the transporter for reuse.

When unloading the lorries, the staff sorts the appliances per fraction.

For further information about these used-good centres.

7.20   How do the used-good centres work? (811340)

The used-good centres' collection teams collect reusable goods upon request, in situ.

Collection and repair of WEEE is one of their activities.

At the RTS/FTS, the WEEE are pre-sorted by the transporter for reuse.

Upon unloading the lorries, staff sorts the goods per product group. From that time on each product group follows its own path through the used-good centre in order to be sold by the used-good centre, at lower prices, after any repairs.

Appliances which are not reparable and therefore cannot be sold, are processed in an environment-friendly way via Recupel. In principle each appliance that is sold in the used-good centre is provided with the service logo (in Flanders) or electro-service (in Wallonia).

7.21   With what organisations with social objectives does Recupel work? (811350)

  • The organisations with social objectives with which Recupel works are primarily used-good centres. Their details can be found on the following websites:

7.22   Does an RTS pick up WEEE from merchants or private individuals? (811410)

Intermunicipal RTS.

Pick-up of WEEE is not among the tasks of a RTS. Some RTS, however, do pick up WEEE free of charge, but this is not a general rule.

Private RTS.

Some private RTS have the permission to transport WEEE. Therefore, they can pick up WEEE from merchants and private individuals. Further information can be found here.

7.23   What to do as a candidate collector and operator of a private RTS? (811420)

Please contact

Recupel vzw
Dienst Operations
A. Reyerslaan 80be
B-1030 Brussel

7.24   How to become a collection point? (812100)

A merchant can become a collection point by submitting a request to Recupel preferably through the Recupel website www.recupel.be or possibly via fax (02/706.86.24.).

You will receive a password and username, enabling you to logon to the logistics application in order to register a transport request.

The conditions to become a collection point are the following: the merchant must be able to collect at least eight large appliances or provide for a full box pallet pick-up four times a year or every three months.

When Recupel observes that a collection point has not requested any pick-ups for a period of six months, it becomes inactive and the boxes are picked up.

Retailers, after signature of the distribution contract, are financially compensated by Recupel on an annual basis for the space they make available for the collection of WEEE.

7.26   Is the pick-up of WEEE and box pallets free? (812200)

In principle, the pick-up of WEEE is free at registered collection points since the pick-up costs are included in the amount of the Recupel contribution.

The service is free if the collection point meets the pick-up conditions.

When paying the placement and pick-up costs, you can appeal to Recupel for one single placement and pick-up of WEEE via a box pallet.

7.28   Does an appliance have to be accepted/picked up for processing in its packaging? (813100)

No, the appliance can no longer be in its packaging. The Recupel processing system does not recycle packaging.

Other managing bodies ensure this (Fost Plus, Val-I-Pac, etc.).

7.29   What about old appliances, from before the start-up of Recupel for the processing of this type of appliances. Where can I take them? (813200)

Your appliance is referred to as "historical waste".

The take-back of old appliances is free, as the costs are included in the amount of the Recupel contribution.

7.31   What to do with consumable goods (ink cartridges, vacuum cleaner bags, batteries, etc.) in the products to be processed and handled by Recupel? (813400)

To the extent possible, you are to separate these consumable goods from the WEEE and give them to the competent organisation, if they are processed and recycled by another managing body.

When during the dismantling of a WEEE, further consumable goods are found in the processed appliances, they will be entrusted to the competent managing bodies.

A consumable that does not fall under a specific organisation, will be processed like all other recyclable WEEE.

Consumable goods, which may be part of the WEEE, are, however, not taken back separately by Recupel.

7.33   Can several merchants use the same box pallet? (814200)

Yes, although a collection point is registered in one name, and one location, with the agreement of the one registered as a collection point, several stores can use the same box pallet and fill it with WEEE.

7.34   How is a pick-up requested? (814300)

The collection point goes to the Recupel website: www.recupel.be; logs in with its username and password and clicks on the logistics application (domestic WEEE).

A transport request subject to the acceptance of the pick-up conditions can be registered by means of an electronic form.

At the end of the procedure the collection point will receive a 6-digit transport number.

If the collection point does not have an Internet connection, the transport request can be submitted via fax to 02/706.86.24. The standard fax form can be requested at the Operations service on 0800 403 88.

7.35   How regularly do the box pallets have to be filled? (814400)

Recupel requests that the box pallets be filled regularly: the box pallets are made available to the end seller or to the container parks, but in principle they have to be filled and be ready for pick-up once every three months or four times a year.

If the box pallets are not filled on a regular basis, WEEE can be left in container parks or at a private RTS, RTS or used-good centres.

7.37   What type of containers are made available to merchants? (814700)

A merchant registered as a collection point with Recupel will receive box pallets and exceptionally also open or closed containers (if the WEEE quantity is particularly high, as is the case for some department stores). Merchants can also collect separate units.

  • The closed containers are meant for CF or BW;
  • There are boxes for OTH;
  • boxes for TVM;
  • LMP are collected by means of the lamp box or lamp container.

7.38   Do hazardous substances have to be removed by the end-users before removal? For example: Asbestos, PCBs or CFK containing oils? Ditto for hazardous substances used in analysis (cyanide)? (814800)

These appliances may not be cleaned up by end-users or collection points.

This is the responsibility of Recupel processors.

End-users only have to be concerned with the biological/bacteriological decontamination.

End-users must also remove the used reagents.

7.39   What about the pick-up and processing of blood glucose meters? (814900)

Recupel does not pick up blood glucose meters.

To this end, a separate collection and processing system is in place (incineration).

7.40   ICT Sector - Compensation for activities by the contracting partner under its own management (815000)

The entry agreement with the ICT sector includes a special provision on the basis of which the sector can provide compensation for activities by the contracting partner in own management.

Currently this compensation paid by the sector is established at EUR 0.

You can, however, possibly qualify for a distribution compensation.

7.42   What are the processing steps? (822100)

Once the WEEE are collected by Recupel, sorted and checked for reuse, they are taken to processing companies, where they are dismantled in an ecologically friendly way, cleared of pollution and processed.

The processing takes place in two steps.

The most polluted parts are removed during the manual dismantling. Parts containing harmful substances such as asbestos, mercury, condensers, batteries, are removed from the appliance and processed in an environmentally friendly way in recognised companies.

Specific pollutants are recovered in order to be used again (mercury, oils, ink cartridges, etc.). Others are destroyed through incineration. Once the harmful components are removed, the remaining parts are mechanically crushed.

Specific techniques are used, in order to separate materials such as ferrous and nonferrous metals, glass and various types of plastics.
All these materials are recovered to the maximum degree possible.

For specific appliances specialised processing is in place.

7.43   Which separation techniques are used? (822110)

There are several techniques in order to separate waste materials, such as magnetising, eddy currents, flotation or fusion.

  • Magnetising is used to separate iron-containing components from other components.
  • Eddy currents allow aluminium particles to be separated.
  • The fusion technique is typically used for the separation of other metals.
  • Flotation is used to separate metals from plastics (PVC) depending on their density.

7.44   What is energy recovery? (822120)

In accordance with the definition in the European Directive, energy recovery takes place when the produced heat is greater than the quantity required for incineration and the excess calories are used for the production of energy (for example for the production of electricity, non-recyclable plastics can be used in cement ovens, etc.).

This is referred to as "energy recovery" or “energy valorisation”.

7.45   Who processes the hazardous substances from the WEEE? (822130)

When hazardous materials are separated, they are shipped to recognised companies that process hazardous materials in an environmentally friendly way.

Specific pollutants are recovered in order to be used again (mercury, oils, ink cartridges, etc.).

Others are destroyed by incineration.

7.46   What happens to the materials resulting from the processing of WEEE? (822200)

The materials recovered after processing (metals, nonferrous, plastic and glass) are turned into raw materials that are used to make new products (= recycling).

Not all materials, however, can be used for new products.

Specific types of plastics and minerals are therefore also used as fuel in cement factories.
This is a good recovery method and useful in order to limit the quantity of waste to be dumped.

Incineration without energy recovery and dumping are avoided to the extent possible.

7.47   What new life is given to materials? (822210)

Recycled waste is used as a secondary raw material in various production processes.

Non-recyclable substances can be used as fuel in the framework of "energy recovery".

Whatever cannot be recycled or incinerated through "energy recovery" is destroyed or dumped.

the recovered ferrous metals are reused in the steel industry (e.g., to make body work for cars or containers).

copper, lead, tin, zinc, but also precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium (present in minuscule quantities in certain electronic components) are given a second life after purification and melting in their traditional applications.
They can be used, for example, to make cables and new electronic components.
Ferrous and nonferrous metals never lose their quality and can be recycled endlessly.

Purified crushed TV glass is used in the production of new screens for TVs and PCs.
Alternatively, the screens can also be transported to copper smelters in order to recover the embedded metals.

Purified crushed glass from gas discharge lamps is used as a secondary raw material in the production of new gas discharge lamps.

the recovered plastics are converted into fine particles, which are cleaned and dried. Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS) are converted into granules that are recoloured. These materials can be used again in the automobile and furniture industry, among others.

7.48   Specialized processing for a number of appliances (822300)

Small appliances and computer equipment:

Dismantling is fairly simple for small appliances. Batteries are removed from the appliances, as are cables and small light bulbs. For computer equipment, cables are also removed, the batteries are removed from the computers and the cartridges from the printers. All electronic components are set aside.

TV and computer screens:

Screens are processed separately, because they contain heavy metals. On the one hand, the glass contains lead and on the other hand the inside of the screen is covered with a light emitting metal powder. Screens are dismantled manually. The wooden or plastic structure is dismantled, the electronics are removed and the screen is carefully taken out.
Refrigerators and freezers:
A large number of old refrigerators still contain Freon gas (or CFKs) in the insulating foam in the walls and/or in the cooling liquid. This gas is not harmful for humans, but affects the ozone layer.

Refrigerators and freezers therefore have to be cleared of these toxic gases.

Oil and gas are removed from the compressor.
Subsequently the cooling gas is separated from the oil.
In order to recover the Freon gas in the insulation foam, the foam is vacuum-crushed and converted into powder. In this way, the released CFK gas can be collected. After the crushing the recovered materials are processed separately for optimal recycling.

7.49   What are the recycling targets? (823000)

The EPAs include ambitious objectives for recycling and reuse.

For ferrous and nonferrous metals the recycling target is 95%,

for plastics 50%, but with a useful application of 100% (energy valorisation and recycling).

In addition, there are also overall processing objectives:
80% for large appliances and
70% for other appliances.

7.50   What are the imposed objectives in terms of collection per inhabitant? Are they linked to the number of marketed kilograms? (823100)

The European Directive refers to a WEEE collection objective of 4 kg per inhabitant per year.

7.51   Does Recupel issue a certificate for the processing of WEEE? (824100)

The certificate for the processing of material can only be issued by a recognised processor, which has proceeded to the dismantling.

It is not up to Recupel to issue this document.

Recupel can, however, confirm in a letter that all environmental regulations are strictly complied with in the recycling of WEEE.

The collection points registered with Recupel, which submit a transport request will receive a pick-up form that confirms that appliances were taken back.
This pick-up form will be handed over by the transporter at the time of pick-up.
Recupel can also confirm this pick-up through its computer system, once the transporter has confirmed the pick-up.

The authorities accept that the pick-up forms signed by the transporter are kept by the collection point and are recorded in the waste material log as proof of removal and processing of WEEE.