Annual Report 2017

2017 in a circular nutshell

January

‘Innovate by 2020’, at Recupel we like to take things one step further.

‘Innovate by 2020’, at Recupel we like to take things one step further.

The ‘Innovate by 2020’ project was a recurring theme throughout 2017 and this will also be the case in the coming years.

Standing still is moving backwards and that is something we cannot afford if we are to achieve the European objective for 2019. According to this objective, by 2019 all actors must collect and process 65% of all electr(on)ic appliances brought onto the market.

That is why the project focuses on new initiatives to map out electr(on)ic appliance waste streams in Belgium with more accuracy. However, innovative research alone will not be enough. Consequently, we want to keep mobilising the general public, companies and our own collection network. Because together we can achieve this European objective.

April

Where does your discarded refrigerator end up?

April

Where does your discarded refrigerator end up?

Where does your discarded refrigerator end up?

Are you one of the vast majority of people who hand in their discarded electr(on)ic appliances at a Recupel collection point? Excellent! Have you ever handed in your old appliances outside the Recupel network? You have? Do you have any idea where those appliances ended up? We looked into it for you.

We organised a tracker survey that kept tabs on 90 appliances through a GPS tracker. We offered them to a number of collectors, scrap dealers, reuse shops and recycling facilities so we could see exactly what happened to these appliances once they were discarded. As it turns out, of all the appliances we were able to track until the end of their life cycle, just 1 in 2 found their way to a recycling facility who possesses the required permits.

For refrigeration and freezing appliances the results were even worse: just 1 in 10 ends up with the right recycling facility in spite of the fact that these appliances contain harmful substances and therefore put humans and nature at risk. In other words, much remains to be done before our economy is truly circular.

May

Convincing students not to throw away their old electr(on)ic appliances at random? Leave it to Café Recupel.

May

Convincing students not to throw away their old electr(on)ic appliances at random? Leave it to Café Recupel.

Convincing students not to throw away their old electr(on)ic appliances at random? Leave it to Café Recupel.

Students will live in the world of tomorrow. That is why it is crucial to make them understand they cannot simply throw out their old electr(on)ic appliances.

Café Recupel is a pop-up café that targets Belgian universities and university colleges. In 2017 we visited Arteveldehogeschool Gent, VUB Brussels, Howest Kortrijk, PXL Hasselt, ULB Brussels, University of Liège, University of Mons and University of Namur.
Students who handed in an old electr(on)ic appliance were rewarded with a free refreshment. We will continue this succesful approach in 2018.

June

The number of RecyclePoints keeps rising

June

The number of RecyclePoints keeps rising

The number of RecyclePoints keeps rising

In 2016 the number of RecyclePoints surpassed the 2000 mark, an upward trend that was confirmed in 2017. We increased our presence in Brussels and other metropolitan areas and we also introduced new RecyclePoints at retailers Krëfel, Aldi, Match and Vanden Borre. It is safe to say everyone now has at least one RecyclePoint near their home.

September

Old electr(on)ic appliances? 
Use your head!

September

Old electr(on)ic appliances? 
Use your head!

Old electr(on)ic appliances? 
Use your head!

In 2016, the campaign ‘Use your head to recycle small electr(on)ic appliances’ met with a very favourable reception because it was informative, clear and activating. In 2017 this success led to 3 new TV ads featuring different appliances. The aim of the campaign? Mobilise the Belgian population to take all discarded electr(on)ic appliances smaller than their head (< 25cm) to a RecyclePoint.

October

Businesses can also contribute to a circular society.

October

Businesses can also contribute to a circular society.

Businesses can also contribute to a circular society.

Companies often have a huge arsenal of electr(on)ic appliances that are simply gathering dust on a shelf in a storage room. These appliances are no longer used because they are either defective or outdated.

E-waste such as old company computers contain concentrations of valuable metals and minerals that are up to 50 times higher than those in the ore excavated from a mine. And here’s the good part: with the right processing methods up to 90% of those materials can be reused. A veritable urban mine.

The ‘co-collection’ project in Bruges in which companies can have their discarded electr(on)ic appliances collected is an example of how we aim to mobilise businesses to have their old electr(on)ic appliances processed properly.

November

People throwing out light bulbs and luminaires, just like that? The horror!

November

People throwing out light bulbs and luminaires, just like that? The horror!

People throwing out light bulbs and luminaires, just like that? The horror!

Light bulbs burn out, that’s a fact of life. Even energy-saving lamps and LED lamps don’t burn for ever. So what do you do with them? Or let’s say you bought new lighting. In this case you also have to get rid of all your old light bulbs.

This campaign also focuses on the luminaires. Research shows that many consumers are unsure as to what kind of appliances they are. We want to make it clear that luminaires are also electr(on)ic appliances.

The horror campaign mobilises the average Belgian to hand in old lamps and fixtures at a Recupel collection point instead of simply throwing them in the waste bin. This way they can be recycled properly.

January

‘Innovate by 2020’, at Recupel we like to take things one step further.

Circular economy

Where are we today with the creation of a circular economy in Belgium?

Our planet’s natural resources are almost depleted and one of the causes is the traditional mining industry. Those mines extract valuable natural resources from the soil at un unprecedented scale, placing our planet under enormous pressure in spite of the fact that these natural resources and materials can also be recovered from discarded electr(on)ic appliances.

Indeed, that box containing your old mobile and broken tablet is like a mini mine because 90% of the materials used in such devices are reusable. That is how Recupel wishes to contribute to the creation of a circular economy. Through recycling we want to reuse materials and natural resources in the most efficient way possible, a model that will become increasingly important in the future.

“Collecting electr(on)ic appliances and light bulbs is what we do. Establishing a circular mindset in our society is what we dream of.”

Peter Sabbe, CEO Recupel

Of course, this is only possible if these old electr(on)ic appliances are taken to a collection point. With 7,728 collection points, including 2,393 RecyclePoints in 2017, there’s bound to be one near your home.

We’re on the right track...

Belgium’s efforts to establish a circular economy are on the right track. One of the reasons for this is that our governments are aware of its importance. A circular system is not only good for the environment but for our national economy as well because the recovered natural resources can be pumped right back into the economy. Moreover, recycling also creates jobs. After all, a freezer doesn’t dismantle itself.

Our Belgian population is also stepping up its recycling efforts. Reuse shops are more popular than ever and more and more people know where to take their old electr(on)ic appliances.

but we’re not quite there yet.

If we want to reach the European objectives we will need to move up a gear. But if we all put our best foot forward, we have a good chance of pulling it off.

Together with all the parties involved we will keep focusing on reporting in order to better document waste streams and we are counting on you to keep handing in your old electr(on)ic appliances at the appropriate locations. Deal? Deal!

90%

Recycling and depollution

Recycling is Recupel’s showpiece. An average of 90% of every appliance collected in 2017 can be recycled into new natural resources. The appliances are dismantled, pollutants and hazardous parts are removed.

30%

A second life for unused electr(on)ic appliances

More and more, our Belgian population tries to give their old or unused electr(on)ic appliances a second life. On average, every family gives away or sells 30% of their discarded electr(on)ic appliances. Reuse Shops are doing more business as well. It’s great to see we’re all contributing!

65%

European objective 2019

In 2019 65% of the put on market of electr(on)ic appliances must be collected.

Recupel, built on 5 pillars

Collecting electr(on)ic appliances and light bulbs is what we do. Establishing a circular mindset in our society is what we dream of. Here at Recupel we feel we must lead by example if we are to create that mindset.

We want to...

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be the best operator

The more efficient we are, the faster the circular economy will be a reality. That is why we are always on the lookout for new work processes so we can stay on top of our game.

innovate

The world keeps evolving and so do we. We want to keep learning, improving and challenging ourselves. That is the only way to make progress

be an expert

Our dream? Whenever someone goes in search of processing options for old electr(on)ic appliances or light bulbs, Recupel must be the first source of information to come up.

be a reliable partner

What we do, we cannot do alone. We are constantly looking for partners to help us solve new problems and meet new needs.

be the best team

Teamwork makes the dream work. No Recupel without its staff. Our colleagues are brimming with motivation and passion for a circular economy. It is their commitment that enables us to do what we do.

Collection Results

It must be obvious by now that we did well in 2017. For instance, we collected almost twice as many professional devices: from 4,104 tons in 2016 to 6,317 tons in 2017.

In addition, we collected 38 million domestic appliances as opposed to 32 million in 2016, or an increase by no less than 18%. Not bad, is it? However, in spite of collecting more devices, the collected volume dropped from 115,000 to 111,000 tons.

Number collected domestic appliances

32 million
2016
38 million
2017

Volume collected domestic appliances

115.000 tons
2016
111.000 tons
2017

Volume collected professional appliances

4.104 tons
2016
6.317 tons
2017

What are the trends?

More small electr(on)ic appliances collected

Well, the reason is really quite simple. Much larger quantities of small electr(on)ic appliances were collected this past year. This is a good thing because smaller electr(on)ic appliances are often the first to end up in the waste bin or at the back of a drawer somewhere. Naturally small electr(on)ic appliances weigh much less, resulting in a lower collected volume. Moreover, larger devices such as TV's and computers are becoming lighter every year.

Technology affects longevity

Technology evolves constantly and these changes affect our collection results. Take LED lamps, for instance. These lamps account for a growing share of the market because everyone is looking to replace their traditional light bulbs with LEDs. But LEDs have a very long life and that is exactly why sales figures will drop at a certain point. And what isn’t brought onto the market cannot be collected.

So although we are on the right track there is still a long road ahead of us.
But if we all contribute, we will reach our objective!

Collection network

566 Recycling parks

After a three-year stagnation, we are pleased to note that 8 new recycling parks opened their doors in Belgium in 2017. We went from 558 recycling parks in 2016 to 566 in 2017, an increase Recupel can only applaud.

2.393 RecyclePoints

We keep expanding the network of RecyclePoints. In 2016 the number of RecyclePoints narrowly surpassed the 2000 mark; this year we’ve done considerably better with 2393 RecyclePoints. RecyclePoints can be found, amongst others, in supermarkets, electronics stores, Reuse Shops and DIY shops. We all shop there on occasion so handing in old electr(on)ic appliances has never been easier.

22 Reuse Centres and Reuse Shops

Discarded devices that still work end up in a reuse centre. There are 22 reuse centres in Belgium. They carry out any necessary repairs so your device is ready to be used again. The device is then delivered to one of the many Reuse Shops to start its second life.

New in 2017

What else does 2018 have in store?

2017 was a successful year. While we are continuing this trend in 2018 we would like to do even better. We want to identify the waste streams in even more detail, keep working toward a circular society and collect even more discarded appliances for reuse or recycling.

But we can’t do it alone. We are counting on the general public and our partners to maintain their commitment to recycling and reuse. We are on the right track and we have to keep up our efforts.

In closing we would like to thank everyone for their trust in Recupel. Without your support and cooperation we wouldn’t be nearly as successful. Thank you so much!

Our take on 2018

1. In 2018 we want to further integrate the circular economy in our vision so that others will increasingly identify us as a key actor in working towards such an economy.

2. In 2018, the mass balance performed by Deloitte on behalf of Recupel will give us a clearer picture of waste streams outside the Recupel network.

3. Our biannual possession survey will once again yield new insights into the number of devices per household. How many devices lay dormant, which small appliances are slipped into the domestic rubbish, ... and lots of other useful information that will enable us to further gear our communication and services to what goes on in the field.

4. In Flanders we recently launched a very pleasant cooperation with domestic help agency Greenhouse. Every Greenhouse customer receives a collection box from their domestic help. This helps to lower the threshold to collect and hand in old electr(on)ic appliances even further. Perhaps we can launch a similar project in Brussels and Wallonia in 2019? If so, we would reach households all across Belgium!