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SWICO/S.EN.S, the Swiss WEEE recycling systems, and best practices from other European systems

TitleSWICO/S.EN.S, the Swiss WEEE recycling systems, and best practices from other European systems
Publication TypeProceedings Article
Year of Conference2006
AuthorsStreicher-Porte M
Conference NameInternational sy,posium on electronics and the environment
Pagination281-287
PublisherIEEE
Conference LocationSan Francisco, USA
AbstractWaste of electrical and electronic equipment,otherwise known as e-waste, is one of the fastest growingfractions in the worldwide municipal waste stream. As this ewastecontains valuable resources which can be easily recycled, aswell as hazardous substances which have to be treated in anenvironmentally sound manner, many countries have launchedprograms to deal with this challenge. These recycling systemshave to be cost efficient and recover material or energy whilststill complying with environmental standards. Switzerland hastwo such e-waste recycling systems which were established on avoluntary basis and have been operating since 1991. This paperevaluates the historical data of one system: SWICO, and assessesthe development of the system’s costs. It also forecasts thedevelopment of waste volume for personal computers until theyear 2020. During the setting up of SWICO many pragmaticdecisions had to be made, one of which resulted in theintroduction of an advanced recycling fee on sales for eachelectronic item. From 1994 to the present moment, SWICO hasexpanded its activity, lowered its fees and increased its returnrate to almost 100 %. In this work a comparison is made betweenSWICO and a similar e-waste system from Norway. Although thetwo systems differ somewhat in their calculation of recyclingreimbursement -the Norwegian system couples these costs toactual metal and plastic prices- both systems have achieved highreturn rates and have lowered advanced recycling fees. They arealso accepted nationwide and comply with high environmentalstandards. In addition to this, the Norwegian system boasts thelowest fees in Europe whilst still maintaining a high degree oftransparency.
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