WEEE Systems Works Towards a Closed-Loop E-Waste Recycling System

E-waste is a serious problem in all parts of the world. A UK-based start-up WEEE Systems has ambitious plans to tackle the growing issue of e-waste. They recently revealed that they are in the process of developing a prototype plant capable of providing closed-loop recycling services to leading electronics manufacturers.

WEEE Systems wants to involve at least one manufacturer in the development process. The company’s goal is to see manufacturers tackling e-waste and taking responsibility for the full life-cycle of their products. 

Bob Clarke, CEO of WEEE Systems recently said in Business Green that:

“The e-waste industry is bizarre in that firms currently pay you less than the old kit is worth to take it away and recycle it, but then if anything goes wrong and it does end up in an illegal scrap yard in the developing world you are the one that gets in trouble. We want to work with a manufacturer where they agree to give us 50,000 old TVs; for example, we’ll reuse or recycle them as appropriate and provide our partner with the resulting reusable parts and materials.”

A partnership with a manufacturer means that the company will have a stake in the new facility. Therefore, that electronics manufacturer will have to assume accountability for the entire life cycle of an electronic item. The company has also launched a new software package to make it easier for corporations to maximise the value from their obsolete electronic equipment.

The software, Cosvcon, audits a corporation’s IT infrastructure and records information on a wide range of metrics including the equipment’s age, energy use, utilization and carbon footprint. WEEE Systems then provides clients with regular updates of the status of their equipment and informs them when its time to retire old servers, PCs, phones and other electronics. This helps to create a secondary market for electronics that is more streamlined than the one that currently exists.

The company works with companies to reduce the amount of material that goes into their products. It also works to reuse parts of equipment in new applications. They are also currently also working with its partners to repurpose and extend life of existing electronic equipment for their clients.  Finally, they also recreate by transforming obsolete electronics into material sources for new products.

Many leading electronics manufacturers look beyond legislative compliance when it comes to e-waste management. Several companies have invested in designing better products that make use of recycled material, easy-to-reuse models as well as reclaimed metal to make their products more eco-friendly.

All of these measures boost brand value and meet CSR objectives. With the increasing cost of raw materials, companies can no longer ignore the value from recycled and reclaimed materials. This process also reduces the carbon footprint of products as well as reduces the influx of conflict minerals into the supply chain. This is something that WEEE Systems wants to take advantage of as it pushes its radical methods to created a better e-waste management scheme.

Image Credit: FlickrReviewR. Wikimedia Commons

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

Leave a Reply