#PROsAtWork Recyclia makes e-waste disposal fun with smart containers

#PROsAtWork Recyclia hace que la eliminación de residuos electrónicos sea divertida con contenedores inteligentes

Recyclia is the largest environmental platform for used electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) and batteries in Spain. It brings together the experience and knowledge  of the three Environmental Foundations: Ecopilas, Ecofimática and Ecoasimelec which, as EPR systems, have been the entities in charge of offering producers the necessary coverage for the correct collection and management of this waste at the end of its useful life. 

Recyclia celebrates its tenth anniversary this year having managed more than 415,700 tons of waste (WEEE and batteries) since the beginning of its activity. Recyclia is the only Spanish collective system taking part in CIRC4Life project that began in 2018. This project is an international collaborative innovation project, with a duration of 36 months, supported by the European Commission’s H2020 Circular Economy programme.

Consisting of a consortium of seventeen partners across eight EU countries, our aim is to develop and implement a circular economy approach for sustainable products and services through their value and supply chains.

It includes the development of 3 new business models:

1. Co-Creation of products and services

2. Sustainable Consumption

3. Collaborative Reuse/Recycling

The development of these Circular Economy business models was demonstrated through a pioneering pilot test in Spain and coordinated by Recyclia and the waste management company Indumetal Recycling in charge of managing waste, either for recycling or reuse, of tablets and other small electronic devices in the town of Getxo.

This pilot test included:

  • Implementation of two itinerant smart containers in three public buildings and three schools in Getxo, in collaboration with the town council.
  • Implementation of the incentive scheme developed jointly with local businesses and distributors in the area.
  • Communication and awareness campaign to the user to deliver their tablets and small devices in the smart containers.
  • Implementation of a system for the reuse/remanufacturing of electronic tablets.

This pilot experience in the town of Getxo was developed from November 2020 to October 2021.

The user, when delivering his waste, obtains a number of credits (eco-credits) that he can later exchange for a series of incentives.

The result of this pilot experience was:

  • More than 600 kg of waste was collected.
  • Good quality of waste collected by smart containers: 13% of the devices collected were susceptible to reuse (this percentage is higher than that registered with the traditional collection system, which confirms that rewarding citizens for disposing of these devices favours their reuse and counteracts the ‘treasure effect’, as the tendency to keep them at home is known).
  • Registered more than 1,500 downloads of the mobile application necessary to identify the user, allow the opening of the door of the smart container and receive the corresponding eco-credits, as a reward. In this regard, 46.3% of the participants have donated the eco-credits, to a reforestation project that will be carried out in Getxo. The rest can be exchanged for discounts in a local shop for the purchase of new electronic devices.
  • On average, there were 5 deliveries of waste for each user who participated in the initiative.
  • The media campaign was a success, with more than 80,000 views of the ad.