WEEE a key element in the sustainable development of new technologies

Los RAEE, pieza clave en el desarrollo sostenible de nuevas tecnologías

The shortage of raw materials, a lack of materials to manufacture new electronic devices and intensive use of technology all come together in a new global context. Within this scenario, Fundación Ecolec has, through its activity and different initiatives, enabled citizens and social agents to become aware of the importance of correct WEEE management as a sustainable way of recovering precious metals.

The new global scenario facing citizens, social agents and public authorities is marked by a continuously growing use of electronic devices; in fact, many day-to-day actions cannot be conceived of without these devices. This is compounded by the shortage of raw materials and the economic and environmental difficulties associated with extracting materials from nature to manufacture new devices. The search for a sustainable alternative to address this new scenario is essential if we are to reinforce our firm commitment to the Circular Economy.

As a result of its commitment to the Circular Economy and to raising public awareness, Fundación Ecolec ensured the correct management of 124,762 tonnes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in 2021, an increase on the 2020 figure of 115,767 tonnes. This makes Ecolec the only Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Collective Scheme in Spain to exceed the figure of 100,000 tonnes of correctly managed WEEE for five consecutive years.

In 2021, Melilla and Ceuta recorded the highest growth in the collection of this waste, with increases of 210% and 191% respectively, followed by Navarre and Cantabria, each with growth of 36%. 2,141 tonnes of waste was managed in the region of Cantabria and 1,359 tonnes in Navarre. Madrid and Andalusia (both with 21%), Rioja (18%), Castilla y Leon (16%), Valencia (11%) and the Balearic Islands (10%) completed the league table of the regions with the highest growth.

In terms of tonnes of WEEE managed in 2021, the national podium was occupied by Madrid (23,157 t), Andalusia (18,578 t) and Valencia (15,090 t), which together accounted for 45% of all WEEE managed by ECOLEC throughout the country.

Collaboration and coordination between public authorities, private companies, social agents and citizens who appreciate the importance of giving a second life to electronic devices through recycling has been essential in achieving this.

Published in: Nº 88 FuturENVIRO – March-April 2022