E-waste, illegal flows are growing

In 2021 Erion managed throughout the Italian territory over 288 thousand tons of waste associated with electronic products (a weight equivalent to that of 800 Airbus A380), down from the 2020 results (302,266 tons). The decline is determined by two factors: on the one hand, the quantity of lead-acid batteries has fallen sharply, due to the strong commercial competition that characterizes this sector; on the other, i Domestic WEEE they recorded a lower growth rate than in previous years.

In 2021 Erion Weee managed about 264,000 tons of Domestic WEEE, up by only one percent compared to 2020: the extraordinary increase in the value of raw materials (60% per year in the case of iron) has aroused growing interest for Weee by the “parallel market”, that is, those subjects who try to maximize their profits by extracting the easiest materials from the WEEE, regardless of the environmental impact of the treatment.

This phenomenon caused a decrease in the quantities managed by Erion Weee compared to the previous year in the R1 (cold and climate; over 78,000 tons sent for treatment in 2021) and R4 (small household appliances and information technology: more than 23,000 tons) Groupings. R2 (other large household appliances: almost 114,000 tons) was substantially stable, while the R3 Group (TV and Monitor), due to the ‘TV scrapping bonus’, recorded an increase of 11% compared to 2020 with over 49,000 tons. Grouping R5 (light sources) in 2021 Erion Weee handled 180 tons.

“The 2021 results show once again that the phenomenon of parallel flows, not opposed by adequate controls, prevents Italy from reaching the collection target set by the European Union” declared Giorgio Arienti, general manager of Erion Weee. “In 2021 Erion, together with its stakeholders, developed a series of concrete proposals for improving the legislation on WEEE, to be submitted to institutional interlocutors. We will continue this work also in 2022, making available the experience gained in recent years so that the Italian WEEE system – which is already considered a best practice at European level for the organizational model – can make significant progress also from a quantitative point of view ” .

The operational results of 2021 demonstrate Erion’s key role in the development of a real Circular Economy at the national level: the recycling rate of secondary raw materials was in fact equal to 90% of the weight of the Rsee. In detail, from the over 264,000 tons of domestic WEEE managed, Erion Weee has obtained more than 130,000 tons of iron, equal to the weight of 294 Freccia Rossa trains; about 5,000 tons of aluminum, equal to 2 million pots with a diameter of 28 cm; more than 6,000 tons of copper, equal to 67 times the weight of the covering of the Statue of Liberty and, finally, more than 34,000 tons of plastic, equal to 13 million garden chairs.

The correct treatment of this type of waste has also made it possible to save over 420 million kWh, equal to the annual domestic consumption of a city like Bologna (395,000 inhabitants) and to avoid the release into the atmosphere of about 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide, as the quantity of CO2 that would be absorbed in a year by a 1,700 sq km forest (as large as the province of Lucca).