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The digital transformation of the disposal process of e-waste

As a company you always want to be up to date. By doing so, there will be many devices which are counted to EOL. This is the short term for „end of life“ and tells a person, that the device has reached the end of it´s life-cicle and must be disposed. But the question is what really happens with the old devices? Do big companies use concepts for disposing the electronic waste in an ecological way? Are consumer wishes being taken into account? These and many more questions are answered in this article.

Company policies for taking care of EOL devices

When the official EOL-date has been reached the actual manufacturer of the device doesn´t offer help, services or spare parts anymore. Still – the life-cicle of many devices has been reached earlier or indipendent of the set date. Then it is important to dispose the waste in a professionally, legally compliant and if possible ecological way.

Many companies collect e-waste in a courner of their cellar and there are no concepts in which the waste is being brought back into a life-cicle. The biggest problem is the lack in simplicity, transparency and data-security. Also refurbishing devices is rather critical. On the one hand in terms of sustainability it is a huge possibility of saving ressources and extending the life of the devices. On the other hand looking at data-security though it is more than questionalbe. Devices are only being restored and set back on default settings rather than the data being destroyed. Restoring the „deleted“ data is not a big challenge for professionals, which can lead to being a big weak point in terms of data-security for companies.

Digitalization can help here. A simple process from giving in an order to the waste being picked up. Transparency and documentation with the help of digital tools – without burdening the day to day business.

But how is the disposal managed in private sectors?

In Germany the electronic law (ElektroG) is an attempt of the european WEEE-guideline for regulating the placement on the market, the taking back and the disposal of elektronic waste. The current innovations of the german ElektroG is active since the January 1st 2022.

But are consumer wishes being taken into account? We have done a case study in which we compare the consumer wishes with the current regulations. The study shows that there is a fear of non existant data-security, which is one of the main arguments of hoarding e-waste.

The new law does bring possibilities like disposing e-waste in the supermarket or other primary treatment facilities but the ElektroG still expects a lot of individual responsibility in terms of deleting data. This is why people don´t just need information about the importance of returning e-waste back into the cycle. Also there must be more possibilities of giving the devices back and information about data-security.

The idea of expanding collection concepts

An easy and inexpensive way would be a clear, transparent seperation of electronic devices with and without data. This is our oppinion at Cirecon. Consumers would have the security, that their devies are being treated up to their expectations. Let´s take a notebook as an example. If it has data on it, the disk would be distroyed by being shreddered or by a certified deletion of data.

A way of expanding the seperation of e-waste is a variety of safe collectionboxes. These can already be used in supermarkets. This way there is no more work generated for recyclers, the raw materials are reused more efficiently and the consumers have their data secure. Data-security is growing importance in many sectors. From our view there is still a lot to do in the sector of e-waste disposal.

Digitalization can also help with transparent realtime processes and certified deletion of data. This way data-security can be guaranteed at any time in the future. Having success with this, a tool is needed which accompanies the whole disposal process right from the start. CIRIS – our reporting- and informationsystem for e-waste – makes this possible. The powerful and cloudbased tool offers a fully integrated solution. CIRIS makes it all possible: exact documentation for fulfilling legal requirements, the avaliability of realtime data for all waste streams, an overview of time and costs thanks to an automatic and simplified process. Test CIRIS now 30 days for free or contact us for more information.

Lent started – we have come up with something special

For every electrical appliance that is produced or sold, valuable and rare raw materials are mined and processed. Starting today, we want to go on an electrical fast. This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy any more new appliances, but rather that you should use them in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible.

How to do that? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t charge your smartphone overnight: If you charge your phone overnight, it often remains plugged in for several hours after being fully charged. This reduces the capacity of the smartphone battery & nothing is more annoying than a weak battery.
  • Do not choose a new smartphone when renewing your contract: Often providers entice you with cheap cell phones when you sign a new contract. Ask for a credit and keep taking your still fully functional smartphone.
  • Use your smartphone for many different purposes: A cell phone can now replace many electrical devices that you used to buy in addition. You no longer need an MP3 player, a navigation device or a small, additional digital camera. This can save a lot of electrical waste in the long run. So take advantage of all the features of your smartphones.
  • Recycle your old devices: On average, there are more old electrical appliances than plants in German households – #whattheschrott. Take a day, sort out old electrical appliances and hand them in. This is the only way the cycle can work! More information on where you can drop off your old devices and what happens to them at www.cirecon.de/gogreen.

Go Green – Go digital!

Stay Save! Your CIRECON Team

Halloween: Spooky facts and figures

Today is Halloween. Do we even need scary costumes and scary noises to give us a real fright? We think it’s enough to read the news in detail, take a look at some developments in the world or deal with facts and figures on the subject of environmental protection or electrical waste. That’s why we have a few spooky facts and figures for you today.

Some really spooky facts about e-waste are following.

A bit spooky: 1.4 Billions of smartphones sold in 2019

Twice as many smartphones were sold in 2019 as in 2012, with most phones being discarded after just 18 months, even though they still work. So the useful life of smartphones really is so short that we’re creeped out by it. As with many environmental issues, it is difficult to place the blame on anyone.

177 percent more used cell phones since 2010

A consequence of rising sales figures? Of course, the number of old cell phones, which is increasing year by year. Many rare raw materials are processed for the production of a smartphone. So recycling these old devices would be important for our environment and nature conservation on the one hand, but also for our consumer habits on the other. If the finite raw materials are not recycled and reprocessed properly, sooner or later we will no longer be able to produce new smartphones. Spooky, isn’t it?

Really spooky: Less than 40 percent e-waste is collected

The collection rate is truly frightening. The majority of them either lie in drawers in German households or were mistakenly disposed of in the residual waste. As a result, the collection rate of 65% prescribed by the EU is missed in Germany every year (usually by up to 15 percent). Accordingly, almost 50 tons of silver lie unused in German drawers. It is our collective task to close the loop and recover the recycling potential left lying around for us and our environment.

Enough creeps. We don’t want to present you with these numbers and facts to scare you or make you feel bad. There is enough gruesome news in the world today. Rather, we want to make you aware that each of us can make a difference. The best thing to do is to start right away: Grab a box, put all the electrical appliances you no longer need in it and take it to the collection points. Information on where you can hand in your old appliances can be found here. You are interested in sustainability and recycling? On our news page you will always find exciting articles on these topics.

Avoiding expensive warnings: Supermarkets and the new obligations

The amendments to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act have been in force for several months. In concrete terms, this means that grocery stores, supermarkets and online stores are now also obliged to take back old electrical equipment since July 01, 2022. In principle, retailers must take back the devices free of charge, regardless of whether a new device was purchased or the old device was purchased in their store. The only thing customers have to watch out for is the size of the electrical appliances. If the old appliances are larger than specified in the law, they are taken back in an old-for-new exchange.

Penalties in the six-digit range threaten supermarkets who violate the law. Better protect yourself now with a concept from CIRECON!

We tested 50 supermarkets in the Upper Palatinate and Upper Bavaria region with regard to take-back and their concepts. The overall conclusion was rather sobering.

Our test visits to supermarkets and the poor record

As experts for e-waste, our goal was to find out how supermarkets are meeting the new requirements, what weaknesses the supermarket concepts still have, and how they could be supported in using these new regulations as an opportunity, for example, for marketing. In the process, we also encountered many problems and unprepared employees. Almost 63 percent of the test stores were unable to provide us with any kind of concept on how take-back works or how the store complies with the regulations of the new law. The problem is: we want to support the supermarkets, but others see these incomplete concepts as a concrete violation of the law that must be reported and punished. Penalties in the 6-digit range are threatened.

Therefore, it is better to take precautions and protect yourself now, before a wave of warnings occurs. The German Retail Federation (HDE) sees this as a major burden for supermarkets in particular. According to the managing director of the HDE, the take-back is a considerable additional task. The small storage areas are one of the problems.

But: We at CIRECON see it differently! With our concept, supermarkets have almost no storage space to plan for the electrical appliances, can generate a competitive advantage with the take-back and, with the right implementation, even earn cash with it.

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.

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?

Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNENYes.
(Source: BDE)

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

CDUBasically yes.
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.