Page 86 - Material Flows of the Home Appliance Industry
P. 86

 Share of products that are collected and recycled
Home appliance material composition is the main driver for the treatment and recovery of products at the end of life. The intrinsic economic value of materials has been a trigger for recycling long before the formal WEEE take back schemes were set up by industry as part of their compliance with the WEEE Directive producer responsibility requirements. Nowadays, the market dynamics of commodity prices play a fundamental role in how home appliances are collected and treated. That is one of the main reasons why a high share of large “metal dominated” home appliances are collected and recycled by commercial operators outside of the formal industry channels.
 For large home appliances,
steel is the the predominant material. In terms of weight, 66% of the material is recovered. In terms of economic contribution, 59% is recovered. Concrete is representing 21% of the total mass recovered but represents a net cost.
 Small home appliances
are highly influenced by the product mix in the waste stream which is the most heterogeneous one out of those categorised by the WEEE Directive. For small home appliances, the presence and quality of electronics (with printed circuit boards representing the highest value) and the presence of plastics containing brominated flame retardants influences the economic output. Electronics can generate an income, while brominated flame retardants treated in environmentally sound way, generate a cost.
 For cooling and freezing appliances,
steel and non-ferrous metals are major contributors to the total amount of materials recovered. Plastics are also relevant, particularly in comparison with other WEEE plastics, due to the absence of flame retardants, which result in higher market values. On the other hand, treatment processes for cooling and freezing appliances are more complex and costly compared to treatment of other large and small home appliances. Proper disposal of ozone depleting substances and oil, as well as polyurethane foam, represent substantial recycling costs.

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