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The tropical rainforest is in danger – but what does that have to do with your smartphone?

Our smartphone accompanies us all day long. In the morning it’s the first thing many people think about. We take it with us to the office, spend the break with it and for many it is also the last thing they put down before sleep. So the smartphone has become a companion in our lives. There are now 300 million more cell phones in the world than there are people. However, many of them simply lie unused in a drawer. But what does all this have to do with the rainforest?

To be always up to date to the latest technology, many people buy a smartphone every year. The old devices, which are still fully functional, end up in the „maybe-I’ll-need-it-later“ drawer. However, the devices contain many valuable raw materials that could be recycled and reused. Many of them come from the tropical rainforest.  And this is where the link between our smartphones and the destruction of the rainforest begins.

Many mining regions of the contained raw materials (e.g. coltan) are located in the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Indonesia, and many more! For the mining huge areas of forest must be cleared. Thus also many animals, e.g. gorillas, lose their natural habitat. Since the demand for new equipment is increasing more and more and therefore also the demand for the rare raw materials, more and more areas of the tropical forests are being developed.

What you too can contribute to the betterment

Next time, ask yourself if you really need a new smartphone. It is becoming increasingly important that we make use of the lifetime of our electrical devices again. If the demand for the raw materials from the rainforest decreases, fewer will also be mined.

Does your smartphone still work perfectly? Why not give it away or sell it?

Your cell phone is old and no longer functional? Recycling protects the environment! The precious raw materials can be reused and do not have to be mined again.

Where can you dispose of your smartphone? Definitely not in the household garbage. Take it to the dealer, to the recycling center or, if you have a large amount of electronic waste, simply have it picked up by CIRECON. Attention: Do not open your old smartphone yourself. Some of the raw materials used are toxic!

Why EMAS? – Implementation and tips for a successful environmental management

What’s EMAS?

EMAS means Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. It is intended to help companies that want to operate in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner with a standardized environmental management system. It is good to know that EMAS is the world’s most demanding and effective environmental management system. In addition to measurable environmental performance through verifiable indicators, you also benefit from transparency and credibility through active communication for certification.

What do you have to consider in the course of an EMAS certification?

Some examples (get more informations in our virutal seminar):

  • Environmental policy
  • Interested parties
  • Binding environmental commitments
  • Analysis of your direct and indirect environmental aspects
  • Monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation

Chances of an EMAS certification?

Basically, the chances of an EMAS certification have to be evaluated individually by each company. In any case, with the environmental mangagement system it is possible to create a link between economic and sustainable actions. The great advantage is that it is a premium management tool which significantly supports companies in organizing and improving their environmental performance.

Through EMAS you can save resources and costs, as well as lay the foundation for awareness of sustainable thinking and working.

Formal requirements with EMAS?

You can learn more about this in the online seminar on April 22 10:00am. Together with you, we want to present the EMAS certification as transparently and practically as possible.

Using the example of “environmental management in the office”, we will show you what options you have to obtain EMAS certification, how long it is valid, and how you can even save money with EMAS certification or the implementation of the environmental management system! Register now without obligation and free of charge (registration link below).

Are you curious and want to learn more about EMAS? Feel free to take part in our online seminar free of charge. Get tickets here: https://eveeno.com/331937962.

We look forward to you and your questions!

When e-waste becomes a danger

Broken electrical appliances should be disposed of properly, otherwise they can become a danger to people and the environment. Despite many different options for disposal, many households store old electrical appliances at home. But this can be dangerous.

Old batteries catch fire. We are currently in a very critical situation. Why? The number of electrical appliances per household keeps increasing and the number of correctly disposed electrical appliances is almost stagnating. Moreover, many devices are not disposed of or are disposed of incorrectly, for example in household waste or at illegal scrap dealers who ultimately ship the scrap to developing countries. If, for example, a rechargeable battery is disposed of in household waste, the consequences can be devastating. If the lithium-ion battery were to be crushed, the risk of it starting to smolder or even burn increases.

Electrical appliances contain many toxic substances. If, for example, an energy-saving lamp is not disposed of properly or not at all, there is a risk that the mercury it contains will be released into the environment, causing enormous damage to humans, animals and plants.

Broken electrical appliances are one of the main causes of fires in German households. According to the Institut für Schadenverhütung und Schadenforschung (IFS), around 30% of fires in buildings are caused by electricity or electrical appliances.  We therefore recommend that you regularly check all electrical appliances that are still in operation and take immediate action in the event of error messages. If the device can no longer be repaired, we advise disposing of the old device immediately. In this way, possible hazards can be avoided. (Image source: IFS)

For more information on gadget hoarding (i.e., keeping old electrical appliances at home) click here.

Discussion: What do you think? #Missiontogether

Today we want to ask you to tell us your opinion.

For some time now, more and more smartphone manufacturers (including Apple and Samsung), decide to stop adding a new charger or headphones to the current models.

The reason? According to the producers, it’s about protecting the environment or causing less electronic waste. However, this statement divides opinions and often leads to displeasure among buyers.

In our opinion, there is not really a right or wrong answer to this question, but there are many different points that have to be considered.

There are many pro and contra aspects to the topic. We would ask you to send us your points by mail to info@cirecon.de or in the social media channels (comments or private message). We will add these to our list and present them to you in a few weeks.

Right-to-Repair: A future solution to reduce electric waste?

In November 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that strengthens the “Right-to-Repair”. Many of the participants in our survey would like to see an even stronger “right to repair”. What is actually behind this and what does it actually include?

The European Parliament has been aware of the problem of too much unnecessary electronic waste for quite some time. The biggest problem is the decreasing life span of almost all electronic devices in the household, office or everyday life. One of the demands is the “right to repair”. The aim is to make it more attractive to repair a tablet or smartphone, for example. This is to be achieved, among other things, through an extended product warranty, better access to spare parts and more sensitive handling of information regarding maintenance and repair. One strategy for this is, for example, a system for labeling the service life of e-devices with an indication of the estimated service life.

Since March 1, 2021, new regulations have been in force to make repairs easier and more attractive. With regard to spare parts, it was decided that these must still be available for several years after the purchase of the equipment (e.g. refrigerators 7 years, washing machines 10 years). In addition, long delivery times are to be avoided and a period of delivery of spare parts is to be around 15 days. Consumers will also be provided with a list of all available spare parts by the manufacturers, which will be accessible on the Internet. The repair will be facilitated in that anyone can perform it with conventional tools without causing serious damage. With the help of a repair manual from the manufacturer, consumers should be supported and motivated. The focus should be on typical defects/faults of products. The manufacturers have to make these transparent and indicate the expected costs (measure of the EU-Ökodesign-Richtlinie).

And what about smartphones/tablets/laptops/PCs? Unfortunately, these devices still fall through the cracks of the current resolutions. Many of CIRECON’s experts consider this to be a cause for concern. Especially such resource-intensive electrical devices as smartphones should be easier to repair. The good news is that the EU Commission already wants to discuss new regulations by the end of the year, which will then also include smartphones and charging cables.

An alliance of European organizations is also campaigning for this. They call for “Right-to-Repair”. More information on the campaign and the movement here.

We also found a interesting video about the Right-to-Repair for you. Just click on “video”. Watch it and tell us: Do you think the Right-to-Repair is a future solution to reduce the amount of e-waste?

Where to put the old walkman?

In the garbage? To the recycling center? Or would you rather store it? The amount of electronic waste in German households is increasing. Since 2006, it has been forbidden to dispose of electrical appliances in household waste (this also applies to small electrical appliances such as cell phones or MP3 players). In the following article, you can read about how to dispose of electrical equipment correctly and what rights and obligations consumers have.

CIRECON recently conducted a survey on the topic of “Electronic waste disposal in private households”. We have received many comments and messages on this topic, which we have of course dealt with and will deal with in the future. Frequently, we received the concern that many consumers are not aware of how to properly dispose of waste electrical equipment and why, for example, in some cities it is possible to dispose of electrical equipment via the yellow garbage can.

Can I simply hand in my old Walkman at a retailer?

Yes. More detailed information is available at www.cirecon.de/gogreen. Here you will find all the information about what e-waste is, why e-waste recycling is so important, how you can properly dispose of e-waste and how to minimize your amount of e-waste. The amendment of the ElektroG is particularly interesting. Also about it you find already a current article under https://cirecon.de/the-new-elektrog.

Where can I as a private person dispose of my Walkman free of charge?

As a private person, you can dispose of your old devices free of charge at the recycling center.

Can I also have my e-waste collected by the normal waste collection service?

In Berlin, there was already an orange garbage can offered by a municipal waste disposal company in which you could dispose of your old electrical appliances. In Leipzig, for example, the Gelbe Tonne+ was introduced. Here, too, citizens were able to dispose of their electronic waste. So there is not yet a uniform nationwide solution. The two solutions presented were also not implemented further after the test phase.

Interesting for retailers, manufacturers and other collection points: What should I do if I have a lot of e-waste to dispose of and transparency and safety are important to me above all?

Collections can be registered via the CIRIS portal with just a few clicks. With the help of tracking and a huge network of disposal companies, we make it possible to carry out the entire process as simply and as transparently as possible. This ensures compliance with all guidelines and makes disposal easier than ever before.

Are you a dealer and fall under the e-waste take-back obligation? We can help you comply with the law, improve your image and even make a profit with minimal effort. Just contact us for a free consultation.

What is a no-go?

Disposing of e-waste in nature or household waste. This not only harms our environment, humans and animals, but also ensures that rare earths and raw materials are lost.

Tips and tricks on how you can minimize e-waste can be found here.

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

Mittelbayrische Zeitung: More transparency in the disposal process with CIRECON

Regensburg, 10.02.2021: Today’s issue of the MZ was about the topic “Where does the electronic waste end?”. In addition to our solutions for a more transparent, safer and professional disposal, it was also about our survey.

The new ElektroG

The German government has presented an amendment to the „Elektro- und Elektronikgesetz“ in Germany, which will come into force in January 2022. The main aim of the amendment is to increase the collection rate of e-waste and thus also improve recycling performance. The desired effect is to be achieved with the help of an expansion of collection points, in particular the inclusion of certified primary treatment facilities and retailers.

The amendment also introduces an obligation for supermarkets. As a result, electronics retailers and supermarkets will be obliged to take back old equipment up to an edge length of 25 centimeters free of charge.. Beyond that, customers do not have to buy an equivalent new device from the retailer. The free take-back of larger appliances (>25 cm), on the other hand, will continue to be linked to the simultaneous purchase of a new appliance.

In addition, the revised version of the ElektroG also aims to involve online retailers more closely. For example, the obligation to collect an old appliance free of charge when shipping a new appliance will be stipulated.

Another change is that in the future, certified primary treatment facilities will be allowed to take back old equipment voluntarily and free of charge, even without being commissioned by manufacturers, distributors or municipalities.

Many other new regulations go hand in hand with the amendment. 

Why this amendment?

In Germany, collection rates for e-waste were only 43 percent in 2018. To achieve the new minimum quota of 65 percent, which has been in effect since last year, the collection volume must be increased by around 500,000 tons.

What will change for you?

In our webinar (DE), we would like to give you an understanding of the details and changes, especially with regard to the previously applicable law. In addition, we are particularly interested in highlighting the new law from a wide variety of perspectives in order to provide you with the best possible information.

The main contents of the webinar therefore include the following:

The ElektroG 2020:

– Current legal basis according to ElektroG in Germany

ElektroG as of January 2022:

– Extension of producer obligations

– Additional collection rights for waste management companies

– Obligations of stationary trade – consumer electronics stores, supermarkets from the food retail sector and furniture stores

– Liability for fulfillment service providers and electronic marketplaces

Participate free of charge and without obligation in the webinar of our brand CIRECON, which takes care of the circular economy of waste electrical equipment.

The link to register: https://eveeno.com/138266812

We look forward to your participation!

CIRECON at Radio Galaxy

Our brand and our survey were presented on Radio Galaxy’s Morning Show. 32 million old electrical appliances are stored in German households, even Lisa of Radio Galaxy, was amazed.

Tell us #WieEntsorgstDu: Would you like to take part and support us in our mission to create a greener future? Then take part in our survey!

Take part now!

Did you miss the report? Here it is again in full length for you! (German version)