Design

Big equipment: on the road for recycling

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DR

Stores now have the obligation to take home appliances, hi-fi, video or computer equipment at the end of their life for free. Not so obvious

Each French person produces 360 kg of waste per year. Among them are the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). They represent 14 kg per person and increase by 4% per year, a much higher progression than that of household waste. All this material was hitherto thrown in the nature or piled up in the dumps. Faced with this anarchy, Europe wanted to act to sort, process and recycle these devices composed of dangerous substances. But structures and distributors did not follow. A new wave of decrees took effect last November. The hope of a recycling of the big equipment is reborn.

White, brown and gray waste WEEE is classified into three categories: whites or Electrical and lighting which include washing machines (linen, dishes), ovens and microwaves, storage appliances (refrigerators, freezers) and small household appliances (irons, juicers, electric toothbrushes ...); products brown among which are televisions, video recorders, DVD players and hi-fi; products Grey which include computer and office equipment (computers, telephones, fax ...). All these devices may contain polluting substances (gas, lead, barium, arsenic varnish or mercury). Today, the law therefore requires recycling at least 75% of their material. What is not won yet.

Delayed goals A European directive published in August 2005 planned to reduce WEEE to 4 kg per inhabitant per year by the end of 2006. Lost bet, despite the creation of a logo for prohibited products in our bins (which does not always appear on packaging cartons) and the summons to manufacturers to handle the collection and recycling of appliances. But the cost of the procedure for the producers and the intermediaries, system of co-ordination of the pickups, taxes of overcost supported by the customer: nothing was planned so that the various actors can reach an agreement. Without structure and money, it was difficult to install automatic and efficient recycling.

A new start still shy Four eco-organizations have been mandated (Ecologic, Eco-systems, ERP and Récylum) to take over the collection and treatment of WEEE on behalf of manufacturers and distributors (who are obliged to join). . Since November 15, consumers can therefore return used equipment when buying a product of the same type, but not necessarily the same brand. It's the "one for one". Any appliance that uses a power outlet, batteries, or battery that is out of order or requires too much repair cost may be returned to the store. Even obsolete equipment requiring replacement is part of the list of accepted devices.

Did you know ?

The hardware has a life that today rarely exceeds 2 to 3 years. - The cost of processing a refrigerator is 10 euros, excluding collection costs, which are even higher.

Everything has a cost If producers will bear a large part of this process, the consumer must also contribute by paying a tax. Separated from the price displayed, and clearly announced, it is 1 to 8 euros for a television or hi-fi equipment, from 6 to 13 euros for home appliances, and up to 25 euros for computer equipment. Finally, many local authorities are studying projects for the collection and recycling of WEEE. They will not be less expensive than the others. This time, it will be on the bill of taxes related to the collection of garbage that the consumer will find the bill.

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