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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.

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/.

E-Waste disposal – professional, simple, safe. Christine Gering answers our questions

“You cannot live on this planet without having an impact on the world around you. It is important to reuse and recycle resources, otherwise one day you will run out of them.

This is, among other things, the motivation of CIRECON’s project manager, Christine Gering. We asked her a few questions as part of the CIRIS Theme Weeks: How did you come up with the idea of the CIRIS portal? What possibilities does CIRIS offer at all? And how does a typical process work? In short: Software for the compliant automation and digitalization of your processes is what you need – a fully integrated solution is what you get.

How did you come up with the idea of the CIRIS portal?

Christine Gering: Our idea came about because of our customer base. The manufacturers from our customer portfolio were looking for a trustworthy disposal solution for their electronic devices that are no longer repairable. Since many processes in the disposal industry are not optimal and a lot of devices still end up in third countries, we came up with the idea of tracking the disposal processes and thus making them transparent for all parties by collecting all data digitally and then making it available in real time to all parties in the supply chain.

What are the possibilities offered by CIRIS?

Christine Gering: With CIRIS, waste producers can track their electronic waste using a unique collection number and a unique collection status and know exactly which process the goods are currently in. In addition, important documents such as transport documents from a logistics provider or disposal confirmations from a disposal company can also be stored directly in the system so that the waste generator can retrieve them at any time.

To simplify collection for the waste producer at his storage location, there is also a module that can be used to order or also rent collection boxes in various sizes and types. This saves administrative effort at the push of a button!

The portal also offers further functions in the extended Gold and Platinum versions with regard to financial data. Here, the values of the electronic scrap received can be called up in a clear form. This automatically also forms the basis of invoicing for the waste producer and the waste disposal company, thus simplifying financial accounting processes at both levels.

CIRECON is involved in the disposal and recycling of old electrical equipment. What role does CIRIS play in this?

Christine Gering: CIRIS is our disposal tool that increases the market value of our CIRECON brand. As soon as a customer decides to carry out disposal together with CIRECON, we provide him with access to dispose of his waste efficiently, to obtain data at a glance and to manage all his sites through it. CIRIS is thus an extra service that we can offer our customers in addition to the operational disposal of electronic waste, thus also facilitating the work at the collection sites.

What are the advantages for a company to use CIRIS and not simply dispose of the old equipment itself?

Christine Gering: With CIRIS, administrative effort is minimized in all areas, for the waste producer as well as for the logistician and waste disposer, since all parties can work in one system and data is transmitted in real time. This means that less additional communication by phone or e-mail is required. In the same way, the customer also saves a lot of storage space, as all documents are stored on the CIRIS servers and can be retrieved at any time.

Compared to other disposal platforms, CIRECON also offers all-round support for its customers and assists not only in the use of CIRIS, but also in the optimal running of the daily disposal processes. Another advantage is that additional functions can be integrated at any time by our internal IT team at the customer’s request. The customer thus has one contact person for almost all areas!

Final question: Why don’t you briefly describe how you as a company register a collection of e-waste with CIRECON, what it costs and how it works?

Christine Gering: Before a company cooperates with CIRECON, it can, if desired, enjoy a free consulting workshop in which a requirements analysis is made and the customized processes for the company are set up. If no workshop is desired, the company can also start right away with a test pickup and then decide whether to pursue further cooperation.

The test pick-up can either be arranged with the contact persons of our team or created directly after registration in the CIRIS portal. The best way to reach us is by e-mail at info@cirecon.de or by phone at +49-941-89849-770.
The cost of disposal is calculated individually for each customer based on the electronic scrap value.

The costs for using CIRIS can be viewed at any time at https://cirecon.de/products/. Here we offer different packages as Software as a Service. There is also the option of a free 30-day test phase for this, in order to decide after expiry which of the three packages the customer would like to book.

We hereby say thank you for the informative interview! CIRIS could help many companies minimize their environmental footprint and stay ahead of the competition. Also, especially with regard to the new ElektroG in Germany, CIRIS helps companies that do not want to burden their daily business unnecessarily, but on the other hand are obliged to comply with their duty.

Revolutionary: With this tool we can solve a major environmental problem

CIRIS is the Reporting & Information System developed by CIRECON. CIRECON stands for Circular Economy Services and was founded in 2017 by a team of after-sales service experts. They encountered the difficulties of disposing of end-of-life electrical equipment on a daily basis and they, or rather we, wanted to put an end to this.

What is CIRIS?

CIRIS is an innovative portal for the reuse, recycling and environmentally friendly disposal of waste electronic equipment. It offers modules for handling waste streams, is adapted to the service processes and requirements of our customers, and is accessible to OEM and ODM manufacturers, dealers, repair centers, telecommunications providers, and certified primary treatment facilities and specialist disposal companies active in the recycling industry.

With the development of the CIRIS portal, we managed to solve many problems at once and offer companies many more benefits. The software makes it possible for companies to have large quantities of e-waste collected directly from the specified location with just a few mouse clicks. Looking to the future, many challenges and hurdles (such as legal hurdles, like the new ElektroG3 in Germany, or the ever-increasing demands of customers in terms of environmental protection) can thus be overcome easily, safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.

This is how we close the gap in the recycling industry with CIRIS: automation of processes, collection of data within the entire process, reporting in favor of more transparency, and a more flexible system that can be accessed by the different players in the cycle.

Elektroschrottentsorgung in wenigen Klicks: Das Portal CIRIS von CIRECON macht es Unternehmen oder Personen, mit größeren Menschen an Elektroschrott leicht, diesen fachgerecht und umweltschonend zu entsorgen.

So what is CIRIS used for?

In companies, countless telephones, computers, smartphones, printers, copiers, keyboards, desk lamps, coffee machines, notebooks, and much more are used every day. The intensive use often leads to defects. It is difficult for companies to change this, even in times of climate change. In terms of recycling and reuse, they can. CIRIS helps companies to make this often time-consuming and cost-intensive process as simple, transparent and rewarding as possible.

Hier nur einige Grundfunktionen, die CIRIS Unternehmen bzw. Nutzer:innen bietet:

• Übersicht über alle Entsorgungsdaten auf einem Dashboard• Einfache Anmeldung der Elektroabfallmengen•Überblick über alle angemeldeten Abfallmengen je Standort
• Nachverfolgung im Logistikbereich
• Reporting über die Kundenproduktbezeichnungen und Sammelgruppen• Überblick über finanzielle Werte nach Abschluss der Sortierprozesse
• …und vieles mehr…

By the way: Sustainable disposal does not mean expensive! CIRECON offers optimized concepts for B2B customers in order to offer disposal as cheaply as possible and still operate sustainably and green. The device is placed in the right hands of a certified waste management company and, in addition, a particularly high value is placed on data security.

Why is CIRIS the best solution for your company?

Your advantages by using the proven solution for disposed electronics:

  • Transparency and controlling: monitor your processes and recycling rates
  • Analysis and forecasting: Know more about the reuse and recycling potential of e-waste
  • Data security by preventing data breaches and unlawful use
  • Improvement of the green image through verifiably certified and documented disposal
  • Strengthening customer loyalty by pointing the way to greater social responsibility and sustainability
  • Time and location-independent IT solution
  • Time and cost savings through more digitalization and automation

Do you have questions or other concerns? Feel free to contact us free of charge by phone at +49-941-89849-770 or by mail at info@cirecon.de. We look forward to hearing from you!

On the occasion of “Species Protection Day”: 4 facts about e-waste

More and more electrical appliances are ending up in landfills around the world, and with them valuable raw materials – a problem for people, the environment and the climate. Today we answer the 4 important questions on the subject of e-waste and e-waste recycling.

What is e-waste?

Ewaste means electronic products nearing the end of their ‘useful life’. It includes any electrical and electronic equipment that’s been discarded. Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. 

The European Commission has divided e-waste into the following six categories: Temperature exchange equipment, screens & monitors, lamps, large equipment, small equipment, small IT and telecommunication equiptment.

What contains e-waste?

Basically, it can be anticipated that e-waste contains valuable and rare ressources. Pollutants such as mercury, lead or cadium are problematic. Pollutants and greenhouse gases from scarp pollute the environment and the climate. Therefore, proper recycling and disposal of all components of waste electrical equipment is enormously important.

How do I dispose of e-waste?

  • Give your e-waste to a public recycling center
  • Small devices? Take it to a dealer with a take-back obligation
  • Large appliances? Use the exchange service of your dealer
  • Send it back to a retailer
  • For business: Make a pickup request to CIRECON

CIRIS was developed to fill the gap within the recycling industry: Automation of processes, collection of data within the whole process, reporting to create more transparency and the flexibility of the system to be used by several parties within the circular economy loop.

Why shouldn’t old electrical appliances simply be thrown away with the household waste?

The big problem here is that small electrical appliances (e.g. irons, smartphones, tablets, fitness watches, coffee machines,…) can easily and inconspicuously thrown away in the residual waste garbage can.

In relation to their total weight, these small electrical appliances contain considerably more valuable raw materials than large appliances (washing machines,…) and should therefore be increasingly collected and recycled.

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.