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World Cleanup Day 2022: The world cleans up

World Cleanup Day is coming up on September 17, 2022. With 14 million participants in around 191 countries (2021), World Cleanup Day is the largest bottom-up citizen movement in the world. Last year, nearly 53 million tons of trash were collected, but we’re sure: There’s more!

(Quelle: World Cleanup Day – DE)

As part of World Cleanup Day, people can take part in various waste collection activities ranging from plastic waste to electronic waste and various other waste. The aim is to make the world clean together. The Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility, for example, has launched the “Garbage not around” campaign, in Freiburg the “Trash Hero’s” are getting together and in Cologne actors have formed the K.R.A.K.E. (Kölner Rhein-Aufräum-Kommandoeinheit).

But what’s behind the project?

It is a project of the citizens’ movement “Let’s Do It World!”, which was founded in Estonia in 2008. In 2018, a non-profit supporting association was then registered in Germany called “Let’s Do It! Germany e.V.” was registered. This allows municipalities, schools, companies, associations, initiatives or even private individuals to register their cleanup campaigns and are provided with information on how to do it safely, etc.

(Quelle: World Cleanup Day, DE)

Pollution in the world is increasing year by year. No matter what kind of waste, the mountains of garbage are growing and recycling rates are stagnating. Not properly disposed of electrical appliances or plastic waste not only has an impact on our environment, but also on the health of people and animals. The pollution of drinking water and air have consequences, the extent of which one would not like to imagine.

How can I be part of World Cleanup Day?

There are quite a few ways to participate:

  • Simply participate in a Cleanup (More informations at www.worldcleanupday.de)
  • Motivate friends, family, colleagues, etc.
  • Support of the initiative in public relations
  • Donations of money and goods
  • Learn about environmental protection and recycling (e.g. https://cirecon.de/de/blog/)

Many people, one world, one day – let’s clean up together!

CIRECON for a clean world

At CIRECON, we work every day to make the world more sustainable. With our innovative solutions and our revolutionary software CIRIS, we aim to close the loop for e-waste.

Where to put electronic waste in germany? To the supermarket!

Since July 1, new regulations have been in effect for the drop-off of electronic waste. 25,000 new redemption sites have been created as a result of the decision. Supermarkets and drugstores with a store area of more than 800 square meters have been obliged since July to take back smaller discarded electrical appliances even without buying a new appliance in the store. Take-back concepts are the key to success – and protect retailers from penalties!

At last, private individuals can save themselves a trip to the recycling center: Since July 1, 2022, supermarkets are obligated to accept old small electrical appliances (even without a new purchase) and to take care of recycling.

The new rules and regulations are currently only partially implemented. In addition to the lack of take-back concepts, there is a lack of clearly visible and legible written and pictorial signs in the direct visual range of the main customer flow or in their presentation media (e.g. website) or with the consignment of goods informing about take-back obligations and return options. In addition, all collection and return points in the retail sector and in the municipalities should have a uniform collection point logo. (Source: Umweltbundesamt).

Supermarkets and what happens next?

German environmental aid is not satisfied with concepts submitted so far. “We are particularly dissatisfied with the responses from Edeka and Netto Nord. They have told us that a return can only be guaranteed for stores with more than 800 square meters of total sales area. From a purely legal point of view, this may be correct, but if e-waste can be handed in at one store and not at another, this creates uncertainty among consumers. (…)”, says DUH Head of Circular Economy Thomas Fischer.

What happens to the old appliances? In this regard, the concepts presented in the DUH survey are also completely inadequate: “Although up to 15 percent of the collected electrical appliances are to be recycled, none of the companies has planned an appropriate separation of the appliances. This means that large quantities of functioning or repairable electrical appliances are being destroyed. The planned specifications for recycling are also insufficient at the vast majority of companies surveyed, because compliance with common disposal standards is not ensured.” (Source: Recyclingportal)

Test visits for supermarkets announced

The German Environmental Aid announces test visits. If DUH detects violations or a lack of concepts, then legal steps are to be taken, according to Federal Managing Director Babara Metz. Already now the past conversion is estimated as insufficient. According to Metz, the fewest concepts that have been presented so far correspond to a consumer-friendly take-back. Rather, stressful, unpleasant situations arise for consumers during the return process, and a lack of signs or information leads to uncertainty among customers.

This does not reflect well on the supermarket chains. A good, professional and transparent concept, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to stand out from the competition and strengthen a positive, green image. In addition, supermarkets will only fulfill their responsibility for the correct disposal of old appliances if this is implemented uniformly.

If you want to know more information about the take-back obligation or our take-back concepts, contact us and let our experts advise you.” E-waste recycling and management is our hobbyhorse. Our mission is to combine social responsibility with economic success and environmental awareness. All important answers and info can also always be found on all our social media channels.

More information on the topic of “Gogreen” and why the disposal and recycling of electronic waste in particular is so important for advancing environmental protection, you can find here.

EPR: Distribution Ban for Producers – What it means for you and your business

In July, the EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) will be tightened. From then on, a duty to register will be in place. That is why, as part of an online seminar, we want to help companies avoid potential
threats coming with a distribution ban and take the right measures to be a step ahead of the competition.

What is EPR?

All across Europe, the EPR is in place. It puts producers and distributors of products in the European area in charge of taking back, transport as well as disposal or recycling thereof.

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an eco-political instrument putting producers in charge of the management of the processing of a product. In accordance with the EPR regulations, those responsible are liable to curb the environmental impact of their products along the whole product life cycle.

It applies to producers of a variety of goods, including textiles, clothing/shoes, batteries along with electronical and electric equipment and also for producers and distributors of packaging.

With the help of the EPR, the EU places these companies under the obligation to professionally collect, sort and dispose of, or rather recycle their products and packaging.

Why is there an EPR, after all?

The primary goal is a well-working circular economy. Packaging and products is not to be turned into waste and disposed of, but at least rather be reused, repared, or recycled as best as possible.

This way, issues like the growing scarcity of ressources and the incorrect handling of waste should be tackled. In this process, the principle of the perpetrator applies, meaning that companies are in charge of associated raw materials and the recycling thereof. This goes for all those marketing products and packaging.

How to implement the EPR as an enterprise?

Can the tightening of the EPR result in a distribution ban for your company? Basically, yes. Currently, companies affected by the EPR implement it by paying a commission. What is more, products not meetinhg the requirements of the EPR may not be marketed.

And, what will change from July 2022?

In July 2022, there will be amendments to the packaging’s Act duty to register, the fulfillment and the marketplaces. It appears to be the last stage of amendments to the packaging act for the time being, but the same time likely the biggest one: Es  

  • NEW: Producers of service and not system-relevant transport packaging, outer and sales packaging are liable too
  • In the area of fulfillment responsibilities will be rearranged
  • For marketplaces: Obligation to check the EPR figures will be tightened

You can learn more about the current, or rather new regulations as a result of the extension of the EPR in our online seminar. Therein, Bernd Kellerer gears your business up for the amendments coming up in July by providing tips and breaking down everything you need to know. Get the recording here for free and without registration.

The bottom line: The EPR can be an effective instrument for a well-working circular economy

To put companies more in charge of taking back and recycling, the EPR was passed in the EU. If geared up the amendments right, your company can benefit from the EPR, which presents an opportunity for a greener future.

With a partner like CIRECON by your side, you can help protect raw materials sustainably, act in compliance with law and save money. Read more on what we do here.

CIRIS - reporting & informationssystem for electronic recycling

CIRIS in daily business – a customer example

In the following, we would like to describe the implementation of CIRIS in the business process of one of our customers. What was the goal, the requirement for CIRIS and by means of which measures & requirements could the good result be achieved? We will clarify this in the following case study.

CIRIS in the application example of one of our customers – goal, requirement, implementation, measures and result

Aim: A practicable and customized system for the execution and documentation of disposal orders.

Requirement: A recycling tool that maps the practical functions and processes from the recycling industry, enables automation of processes, minimizes administrative effort, and enables central documentation and data collection.

Implementation: Our modularly structured tool enables our customer to meet exactly the requirements he has for the recycling portal.

This is how the customer uses CIRIS:

As a tool for managing collection orders, such as

  • Direct feedback of the status
  • Acceptance or proposal of a pick-up date (after logistic check)
  • Management after receipt of the shipment
  • Inquiry and update of the shipment status update/customer information
  • Breakdown of shipment details by product category
  • Documentation of sorting of e-scrap units according to the sender’s requirements
  • Creation of the invoice basis

In addition, the customer uses our recycling tool to document certified data erasure and data media destruction, as well as to order security boxes.

Measures: A large part of the work steps takes place hand in hand with CIRECON. In many cases, CIRCON does the administration for the customer in CIRIS. For example, the agreed pricing is stored by CIRECON. Furthermore CIRECON handles account management for the customer. Larger data volumes (e.g. mass data imports after the sorting process or scan matching) are simply provided by the customer and imported into the system by us).

Result: 200 disposal orders fully processed via CIRIS. The first disposal order was placed in July 2019.

Review: We were part of the E-Waste World Conference & Expo

From 30.11-01.12. we were represented with our booth at the E-Waste World Conference & Expo. The international trade fair deals with topics such as current developments in recycling technologies, recovery solutions, sustainable raw materials and materials or end-of-life strategies.

Die diesjährige E-Waste World Conference & Expo durfte wieder in Präsenz (mit 2G-Regelung) stattfinden und war ein voller Erfolg.

Frankfurt: Recyclers from all over the world meet at the E-Waste World Conference & Expo

This year we didn’t just want to attend the conference, we wanted to be a part of it and present our recycling portal CIRIS. (By the way: Last year, our colleague Alex Süßmilch gave a very exciting presentation on CIRIS at this fair. You can download it for free. Just click here and scroll down to the end of the page).

At our booth we were able to have many interesting conversations, which were, besides the exciting official presentations and the many other exhibitors, our highlights of the fair (and finally face-to-face again). Our sustainable giveaways were very well received by our visitors. In addition to delicious sweets, organic cotton tags and coffee capsules made of wood, our Schrotti was also allowed to accompany us to the fair.

More impressions of the fair can be found here.

We are looking forward to next year!

International E-Waste Day: Our statue for more consumer awareness

On 14.10.2021 was International E-Waste Day. Every year, we join the WEEE Forum’s event here and think of a special action in connection with e-waste. This year, we asked our employees to bring old, worn-out or defective electrical appliances from home. We had not yet revealed what we intend to do with them. Our goal: to build a statue out of all the collected electronic waste. By the way, we don’t want to withhold this from you and present it at our booth at the E-Waste Expo 2021.

Background to the collection campaign: 85 percent of respondents have old electrical appliances at home

Last month, the time had finally come: We were able to publish our study on the topic of “e-waste disposal in private households”. The study revealed some shocking figures. More than 85 percent of respondents have old electrical appliances at home that they no longer use for a variety of reasons. The reasons why the participants do not dispose of the old appliances are also very variable. All in all, we received more than 30 pages of unbelievable insights, facts and personal feelings of the consumers, which we of course want to share with you. You can read more about the study here.

During the preparation of the study, the desire arose in us to further sensitize our employees to the topic of electronic waste and its disposal. This is how we came up with the idea of building a statue together from the old electrical appliances that are lying around at home.

Well? What do we have here?

Little by little, more and more electronic waste was collected over the two weeks. From smartphones, tablets, notebooks, to electrical children’s toys, drones, flashlights, computer mice, coffee machines, power supplies and much more. In a way, we were all shocked at how much e-waste was coming together.

On International E-Waste Day, we sorted through the amount and made some exciting discoveries. Among the e-waste, there was a lot that does not count as e-waste. For example, the cover for an action camera, a selfie stick without electronic components and a light bulb. So we sorted these items away for the time being.

Now it got interesting: How many batteries are in the pile and therefore stored somewhere at home by our employees? Again, almost every second battery-operated device (such as remote controls or the children’s toys) still contained a rechargeable or a battery. Many of them had already burst/leaked. As a result, we also banished these hazards and collected and disposed of the batteries/rechargeable batteries properly. Why batteries or rechargeable batteries can be a great danger to people and the environment, you can read in this exciting news article.

Probably the most bizarre e-waste was an electric children’s toy from the 90s. Fun Fact: With fresh batteries it even still worked!

Then it was time to build the e-waste statue

Now we started with the most exciting part: the construction of our e-waste statue. With hot glue guns, cordless screwdrivers, adhesive tape and especially a lot of teamwork and creativity, we assembled the body parts of our robot piece by piece.

Legs were made from coffee machines, toes from computer mice, an upper body from a drone and many electronic scrap parts, arms from keyboards, and so on. In the end, the meter-high statue stood before us and we were speechless. Despite the amount of used equipment in the big statue, the rest was easily enough for another one.

What a cool team day and the result is something to be proud of, isn’t it? We would like to thank the WEEE Forum for always putting on International E-Waste Day. By the way, more information about what we do and why e-waste is our passion can be found at here.

Recycling and parties: Bundestag Election 2021

This week is the federal election. An election that points the way ahead and is decisive for the future. There are more urgent topics on the agenda than ever before: What’s the next step after Corona?, climate protection, digitization, the nursing crisis – these are just a few examples. Of course, we are interested in how the CDU, FDP, SPD and the Greens position themselves on recycling.

Briefly on the federal election itself: A total of 47 parties are standing for election. These include the major parties, which we have limited our research to. The party programs are often very detailed and similar in many respects. That’s why we have answered the various questions briefly and concisely in a table.

Infrastructure: Do you support an EU-focused recycling infrastructure, as well as the classification of waste shipments as part of the circular economy?

CDUYes.
FDPYes.
SPDYes.
Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNENYes.
(Source: BDE)

Instruments: Do you support needed steering instruments, such as ecodesign, for a circular economy?

CDUBasically yes.
FDPNo.
SPDYes.
Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNENYes.
(Source: s.o.)

We had reported in the last article about the great danger posed by incorrectly disposed lithium-ion batteries and how many valuable resources are lost. By the way: You can find the article here.

Lithium-ion batteries: Do you support tools such as better battery recycling, better collection infrastructure, and mandatory deposits?

CDUGoal: To achieve comprehensive recycling in an effective circular economy.Goal: To achieve comprehensive recycling in an effective circular economy.
FDPIncrease collection rate and improve recycling, yes. Deposit requirement for lithium-ion batteries, no.
SPDYes – to higher target collection rates, clear labeling, assumption of responsibility by equipment manufacturers, support for a consumer-friendly and non-bureaucratic deposit system.
Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNENYes – the Greens support all of the above instruments.
(Source: s.o.)

Basically, how much recycling do the parties want?

  • Union: “Maximize recycling and guarantee raw material security.”
  • FDP: Better to enable modern methods instead of banning products.
  • SPD: The Waste Management Act must be adapted – for less waste and better recycling!
  • Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN: For waste avoidance and high-quality recycling.
  • Die Linke: “Repair and reuse (…) take priority over recycling.”

But: A comprehensive picture of all parties should be made by each individual and especially in the different subject areas and find out the best choice for himself. The important thing here is to illuminate everything. We hope to have given you a good overview on the subject of recycling. On 26.09.2021 we all have it in our hands. Go vote.

Recycling yard on fire: Batteries as latent threat

Hof, 08/09/2021: Recycling yard partly burned down. Two people slightly injured. Heavy smoke. Residents are asked to keep doors and windows closed.

What happened a few days ago: Toni’s old notebook has had its days. He found out among his friends how and where to get rid of the broken device. Their answer: Even when the notebook is broken,it still contains many valuable raw materials. He should take it to the recycling center and have it recycled properly that way. To the recycling center? It’s only open on Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and you can expect long waiting times. Toni doesn’t have time for that. He disposes of his laptop in the residual waste. What he hadn’t considered, besides valuable and rare ressources, the notebook contains hazardous substances. Detecting these pollutants, let alone filtering them out of the residual waste, presents recycling centers with a major challenge. What follows: Almost every week, according to DEKRA experts, fires occur.

By the way: Why a battery or accumulator can become a cause of fire and how to dispose of them properly can be found here.

Problem: The separation

Shippers, packers, loaders, carriers and unloaders are theoretically obliged to comply with the regulations of the Dangerous Goods Act, as lithium batteries are dangerous goods. The ElektroG, which will be amended in 2022, is also intended to counteract any hazards posed by installed rechargeable batteries. For example, battery-operated waste electrical equipment is to be collected separately in separate containers at collection points. You can find out here which new regulations the new ElektroG3 also brings with it.

For safe transport and safe dismantling or disposal of old batteries and rechargeable batteries, it is therefore necessary that battery-operated devices are collected and recorded directly separated from other devices, for example cable-connected old devices. The problem is that this separation is rarely successful, resulting in the fires described above, which are difficult to extinguish.

The recycling center bears the costs

More and more lithium batteries end up uncontrolled in residual waste as well as in electrical and metal scrap, DEKRA experts recognize. DEKRA also states that self-ignition causes metal fires with temperatures of 1,000 °C to 2,000 °C. In addition, fires occur time and again during transport. In recycling plants, mountains of waste burn uncontrollably as a result and can spread toxins. And who pays for the damage? The recycling centers have to bear the often very high damages themselves.

The solution: Automated detection of pollutants

The detection of pollutants is therefore a major challenge for the consumer, the recycling center and many other parties involved in the process. A research project is now being conducted to find out to what extent digital transformation and automated processes can help everyone in the separation process.

To this end, we have set up a survey to first find out how present the problem is among recyclers and whether this solution is an option for them.

You are a recycler and know the problem described above? Then please join us and we will help you to make your daily work safer and easier! We would be very pleased about your participation! Just click here to access the survey. The completion time is 5 minutes.

More information about the project will follow soon.

Can a battery become a source of fire? – How to dispose of batteries safely and cleanly

Can an old battery really start to burn? How and where can I dispose of my old batteries? And why should we never dispose of batteries in household waste? You can learn all this in the article.

Batteries and rechargeable batteries help us through everyday life. They make it possible to use devices in a mobile way and independently of the power grid. But: Batteries can become a great danger for people and the environment – if they are not disposed of properly.

Current battery volumes and recycling rates in Germany

In 2019, 55,905 t of portable batteries were placed on the market in Germany. Compared to the previous year, this was an increase of 3,746 t or 7.2%. Germany achieved the EU minimum targets. The collection volume was increased by 17.2% compared to the previous year (Source: Umweltbundesamt). To illustrate the EU minimum recycling targets, a figure is used in which the average recycling efficiencies determined are compared with the minimum targets (see figure 1).

Figure 1

How your old battery can become a danger?

It is, quite literally, incendiary how many of us dispose of our old batteries. A lithium battery in residual waste can quickly become the cause of a fire in a truck, in containers or in recycling facilities.

But how? If lithium batteries are disposed of in the residual waste, they can ignite even with the slightest friction. Especially in summer, when the outside temperature rises, the risk of fire is particularly high. Even in your own four walls, if batteries are stored incorrectly, a fire cannot be ruled out.

Another problem: The waste of resources. If batteries are not disposed of properly, a large amount of valuable raw materials such as cobalt, aluminum or lithium is lost from the cycle. “This is a waste of valuable raw materials that we clearly can no longer afford.” Many people do not know where a battery is installed and how to dispose of it properly. We want to change that now:

How to dispose of an old battery?

One thing is for sure: A battery does not belong in the household waste or in nature under any circumstances.

Moreover, one must take into account: Batteries are in many things where you might not expect them, e.g. in blinking children’s shoes. Here it would be important to inform yourself and also dispose of these “devices” properly.

The so-called portable batteries from watches, laptops, remote controls, radios, etc. that accumulate in private households can be returned free of charge to the collection points at retailers and the recycling centers of the municipalities. Car batteries and industrial batteries should also be returned to the available collection points, e.g. at retailers.

And do not worry: if batteries are handled properly, they do not pose any danger!

A few more tips from us

Tip from the editorial team: If you are unsure how to dispose of certain items correctly, the waste guide may help you. The “Waste Guidebook” is an initiative of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment and the State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection. Click here and we will forward you directly.

By the way, we have been committed to the proper and environmentally friendly disposal of waste electrical equipment for many years. In this interview, project manager Christine Gering reveals how we make e-waste disposal simple, safe and professional. Just click here.

The ReCircE project: How you can become part of the solution

What is the ReCircE research project? How can you support us in this? Why is a functioning cycle important? And what contribution can artificial intelligence make in terms of climate protection? You can find out all this in the following article!

What is the ReCircE project?

The ReCircE project aims to improve the resource efficiency of material cycles. ReCircE stands for Digital Lifecycle Record of the Circular Economy. Puh – sounds pretty complicated at first…but it’s not! The goal of resource efficiency and circular economy is to be achieved by combining a digital product description – the “Life Cycle Record” – with intelligent sorting technologies supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are an official partner of the ReCircE research project and would therefore like to briefly explain how we intend to achieve our goal:

  1. Information on the product and product life cycle is stored in the life cycle file. This includes, for example, the materials used in the manufacturing process and their properties. This information is made available for material recovery – i.e. for sorting, recycling and subsequent reuse.
  2. Thus, data can be obtained from the lifecycle file and used for improved sorting. Product and material data are made available to machine learning processes to enable AI-based sorting decisions. At the same time, data from sorting flows into the lifecycle file and represents a further source of information for subsequent recycling processes.
  3. Using the data from the life cycle file and with the help of machine learning processes and sensor-based sorting, material efficiency can be increased overall in the recycling of products and materials. This means that higher proportions of valuable materials can be recovered and processed into higher-quality products made from secondary raw materials.

How is the starting situation and where do we want to go?

What is the environmental challenge?

Post-consumer products – for example electronics, clothing or packaging – increasingly consist of materials that are difficult to sort and recycle. Producers, disposers and recyclers do not yet exchange enough information about product design and value chains. On the producers’ side, therefore, there is often a lack of information to improve the recyclability of products. Meanwhile, the waste management industry lacks knowledge about the quantities and qualities of the expected material flows. This information deficit hinders the logistical and technological advancement of recycling processes. For these and many other reasons, the recycling rate worldwide is very low and many resources are not brought back into the cycle. By the way, we at CIRECON take care of the proper and safe disposal or recycling of waste electrical equipment. Why is the topic of electronic waste recycling especially important to us?

Read our article and find out why your smartphone also contains a piece of rainforest.

…and where do we want to go?

ReCircE aims to develop a digital “lifecycle file” to increase transparency of product lifecycles and thus improve the circular economy. The cloud-based lifecycle file shares information with producers and disposers to use the collected data to support more recycling-friendly product development. In addition, an AI system combines the lifecycle file data with sensor data from a highly efficient sorting system to improve the precision and efficiency of the sorting process. As a result, lower reject rates and higher product qualities are expected. In addition, a resource efficiency tool is being developed that compares different variants of product design, value chains and recycling processes and optimizes them from an ecological and economic point of view.

It’s best to watch the short video as a summary (unfortunately the video is only available in german):

How you can support us:

In order to learn more about the current status and the possibilities for action, we need your support. Two questionnaires are provided – one for manufacturers and one for disposers. The questionnaire is especially about the status quo and how a life cycle file could help you to lead products & materials back into the cycle.

Click here to go to the questionnaire for manufacturers

Click here to go to the questionnaire for disposers.

Thank you for your support. Together we can close the loop and advance environmental protection. If you need more information about the project, the partners or how to contact us, please feel free to write to us or have a look at https://www.recirce.de/.