480 million tonnes of RAEE recovered in 2020

Facilities handling household and professional WEEE (waste from electrical and electronic equipment) sent 478,817 tonnes of electrical waste for treatment last year, an increase of 3.20%. In spite of this increase, the collection rate on the input continues to fall, moving away from the European targets.

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During 2020, treatment plants started recovering almost 480 thousand tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This is what emerges from the WEEE Management Report 2020, which summarises the results of the annual declarations made by the plants registered in the mandatory list managed by the WEEE Coordination Centre on the basis of art. 34 of Legislative Decree 49/2014, and available from 15th July on the cdcraee.it website.

More precisely, the quantities are equal to 478,817 tonnes of electronic waste of domestic and professional origin, originating throughout the national territory. This information is essential for the supply chain because on the basis of this data Italy’s performance against the collection targets set by the European Union is monitored.

The data contained in the 2020 Report are also available on raeeitalia.it, the online service of the WEEE Coordination Centre, which, in the section dedicated to Facility Reports, presents in full all the items of the report: household WEEE, professional WEEE, EEE put into service, facilities, European target.

The number of reporting facilities continues to grow
A first very positive fact that emerges from the WEEE 2020 Management Report is the steady upward trend in the number of WEEE management facilities that have made the annual declaration to the CdC RAEE, amounting to 1,050, a good 74 more than in 2019.
The calculation includes both facilities dedicated to treatment for the recovery of raw materials and those that simply store waste while waiting for it to be sent to a treatment facility.
In terms of distribution over the national territory, the largest number remains in Northern Italy with 729 facilities, followed at a distance by the Southern Area, which with 173 facilities (+26 compared to 2019) surpasses Central Italy where there are 148 facilities (+10 compared to 2019).

Of all the reporting facilities, 53 are also accredited to the WEEE Coordination Centre: they meet the requirements to receive and treat household WEEE managed by the Collective Schemes, the non-profit consortia to which producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) adhere and which are responsible for collecting, withdrawing and managing household electronic waste throughout Italy. The accreditation is the result of the Treatment Agreement, signed by the WEEE Coordination Centre with the associations representing the treatment companies (ASSORAEE, Assofermet and Assorecuperi) and renewed in May this year. It is issued at the end of a verification process set up by the CdC RAEE and following the passing of an audit carried out by third-party bodies which certify the quality of the process and compliance with strict environmental protection procedures.

Trend in declarations
As noted above, in 2020, facilities reported that they had managed a total of 478,817 tonnes of WEEE, an increase of 3.2 % on the previous year.
Just over 77 per cent of the total volume (369,569 tonnes) was attributable to household WEEE, which was 4.45 per cent higher than in 2019, while 22.82 per cent (109,248 tonnes) was attributable to professional WEEE, the weight of which decreased slightly (-0.79 per cent).

Going into detail about the composition of household technological waste, large whites (R2) remain the most significant grouping, but it is consumer electronics (R4) that registers the highest percentage increase (+12.2%) compared to 2019, while light sources (R5), as a result of the pandemic situation, experience a real setback (-31.59%).

CHANGE IN TOTAL WEEE TREATED

20202019DELTA TONDELTA %
Household WEEE369.569353.84015.7294,45%
Professional WEEE109.248110.113   – 865-0,79%
Total values in tonnes478.817463.95314.8643,20%

Collection rate and European targets
The data provided by WEEE treatment facilities to the Coordination Centre allow us to assess how far Italy’s collection of electrical waste is from the targets set by the European WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU to safeguard, protect and improve the quality of the environment and human health. The target of 65%, valid from 2019, is to be understood as the ratio between the WEEE collected in the reference year and the average amount of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) put on the market in the previous three years.
The figure, based on data available as at 30 June 2021, shows a declining return rate for the second year running, at 36.80%.

YEARCOLLECTION RATEEUROPEAN TARGET
201842,84%45%
201939,53%65%
202036,80%*65%

There are two factors behind this decrease: on the one hand, an increase in the input of EEE in the three-year period 2017-2019, which averaged 1,301,302 tonnes (+10.9% compared to the previous three-year period), and on the other hand, a decrease in the volume of waste from the professional sector.

AVERAGE EEE INPUT AND DOMESTIC AND PROFESSIONAL INCREASE

HouseholdDeltaProfessionalDeltaTotalDelta
Average
entered 2015-2017
805.340178.270983.610
Average
entered 2016-2018
938.73616,56%235.01931,83%1.173.75619,33%
Average
entered 2017-2019
998.8666,41%302.43628,69%1.301.30210,87%

“In 2020 there was a further increase in the amount of WEEE sent for treatment in Italy”, says Fabrizio Longoni, Director General of the WEEE Coordination Centre, “which is a symptom of the positive work carried out by all stakeholders in the WEEE supply chain. The WEEE treatment start-up rate in Italy (36.8%), which stands at a value almost 30 percentage points away from the target that the European Community has assigned to the member states, should make us reflect on the causes of such a large volume of WEEE “disappearance”. Disappearance that in fact is only in the identification reports because this type of waste finds improper destinations that too easily favour “economic” treatment to the detriment of “appropriate” treatment.
In any case, a positive aspect emerges from this report: while the rate of initiation of adequate treatment is decreasing in Italy as a whole, unbundling the data shows that the result for household WEEE is increasing, while it worsens in the professional sector. The lack of the WEEE Grouping Decree and the consequent impossibility of properly managing the communication on the identification and subdivision of electrical and electronic waste certainly has a negative impact on the results, although the cause of the greatest impact is to be found in the absolute lack of controls on the illegal management of WEEE by the relevant bodies”.

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