Where are the electrical and electronic equipment no longer in use? This question is being investigated in a new project. Germany will not meet the European collection targets for WEEE in the coming years. Rare metals such as cobalt, indium or silver will thus be lost. But we need these metals for new products, e.g. in the field of renewable energy production. Illegal exports of electronic waste, on the other hand, lead to environmental pollution in West Africa and Asia. Every German citizen produces about 20 kg of electronic waste annually. Less than half of this is dropped where it is supposed to go: at recycling centers, electronics retailers or directly to the manufacturers. Where is the rest? To answer this question UBA commissioned INTECUS (Dresden) and Cyclos Future (Osnabrück); N³ joins this group focusing on international issues.
A significantly improved collection structure for WEEE is key! This requires clear responsibilities for producers, retailers, consumers, take-back organisations, municipalities, and waste management companies. In this project N³ will focus on the collection channels, which were introduced by countries in Europe collecting more WEEE than Germany.