By Evie Mitsidou Phillips
WEEE Cyprus, the non-profit organisation set up for the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment has to-date recycled 17,351 tons of electric and electronic appliances, the organisation’s President Stelios Athanasiou told CNA, noting that at present there are over 260 points of collection throughout Cyprus.
Athanasiou said WEEE Cyprus was an initiative set up by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) in June 2008, to encourage consumers to recycle their old electric and electronic appliances instead of throwing them away.
Legislation adopted in 2002 defines the framework of electric and electronic equipment producers’ duties and responsibilities which also concerns importers of such equipment.
Athanasiou said that 378 companies are registered with WEEE Cyprus, adding that 26 of those are shareholders in the organisation.
“We collect information and telecommunications equipment, consumer products, such as televisions, lamps, electric and electronic tools, games and sport entertainment equipment, medical appliances, monitoring devices and automatic distribution devices,” he explained.
To put it plainly, “our organisation can recycle anything which uses a power plug or batteries.”
Of the 260 collection points, 76 are for the collection of lamps, 145 pallets for small appliances and 39 hook containers, with that number rising to 68 after a significant investment of €100,000.
As regards the volume of appliances recycled, Athanasiou said that “from 2009 to 2011 we collected small quantities of electric appliances. From 2011 onward, quantities increased at a steady rate.”
In 2018, “we collected 2,603 tonnes of electric and electronic appliances, 32 tonnes of lamps, while 160 tons were reused.”
Athanasiou also raised the issue of “free-riders”, who do not manage the appliances in the appropriate manner, resulting in these ending up in scrap metal waste.
“Our organisation guarantees that appliances will be recycled in the appropriate manner,” which end up in the system’s sorting and storage centre in Geri industrial estate where ordinary citizens, companies and government departments can also take their appliances.
“Once appliances are weighed, they are categorised in various groups in accordance with how they will be dealt with later,” he explained.
The WEEE Cyprus President said that the organisation’s operational cost is covered by the companies who participate in the system, that is to say importers of electric and electronic appliances who sell their products in Cyprus.
Companies pay a fee every year depending on the quantity of appliances they import and their weight, and that “naturally the cost is then transferred on the consumer.”
Because of that, Athanasiou noted, “our goal is to maintain the collection and management cost as low as possible so that the end consumer pays the lowest possible cost.”
More information is available on the organisation’s website www.weeecyprus.com.cy