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PCB's in Small Capacitors from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipments

TitlePCB's in Small Capacitors from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipments
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsEugster M, Chappot A-C, Kasser U
Prepared forSENS, SWICO, SLRS
DateSeptember 2008
InstitutionEmpa, Ecoservices, Buero fuer Umweltchemie
CitySt.Gallen / Switzerland
AbstractIn 2006, 121 t small capacitors from 96'400 t waste electrical and electronic equipments (WEEE) were separated and disposed of in Switzerland (SENS-SWICO 2007). The Swiss legislative regulations make a distinction between the disposal routes for PCB-containing and PCB-free capacitors. PCB-containing capacitors must be eliminated in high-temperature incinerators, while there are no speci├× c requirements regarding the disposal of PCB-free capacitors. The treatment requirements of the Swiss system operators SENS and SWICO for the disposal of WEEE rule the treatment of small capacitors in accordance with Swiss and European standards.
In practice, distinguishing between PCB-containing and PCB-free capacitors is difficult - even for qualified personnel - time and cost intensive, and therefore rarely done. As a consequence, as good as all the capacitors (> 2.5 cm) are removed from all WEEE categories, then attributed to the PCB-containing capacitors and treated as hazardous waste. Accordingly, the prescribed disposal in a high-temperature incinerator involves great expenses and excludes at the same time a potential material recycling of non-hazardous capacitors, due to lacking knowledge.
The investigation into "PCB's in small capacitors from waste electrical and electronic equipments" by the technical control bodies of SENS and SWICO aims at extending the knowledge, in order to grant a safe and wise handling of small capacitors. Especially the occurrence of unhealthy and environmentally hazardous substances in small capacitors from electrical and electronic equipments needs to be elicited, and the sequels of a potential diffuse release are to be estimated. The results shall provide a basis for decision-making, so as to verify the treatment requirements for small capacitors and, were necessary, revise them.
Eugster_TK-SENS-SWICO_2008.pdf697.38 KB
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