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e-Waste Definition

e-Waste for short - or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) - is the term used to describe old, end-of-life or discarded appliances using electricity. It includes computers, consumer electronics, fridges etc which have been disposed of by their original users.

On this website - the e-Waste Guide - "e-waste" is used as a generic term embracing all types of waste containing electrically powered components. e-Waste contains both valuable materials as well as hazardous materials which require special handling and recycling methods. This guide covers all categories of e-waste but emphasizes categories which contain problematic, scarce and valuable or otherwise interesting materials.

Examples: Computers, LCD / CRT screens, cooling appliances, mobile phones, etc., contain precious metals, flame retarded plastics, CFC foams and many other substances.


The graphic below compares the categories of e-waste as used in the Swiss and EU legislation (CH ORDEE and the EU WEEE Directive)

 

Swiss ORDEE regulations   EU WEEE Directive
     
Household Appliances
Washing machines, Dryers, Refrigerators, Air-conditioners, Vacuum cleaners, Coffee Machines, Toasters, Irons etc.
  Large Household Appliances
Washing machines, Dryers, Refrigerators, Air-conditioners, etc.
  Small Household Appliances
Vacuum cleaners, Coffee Machines, Irons, Toasters, etc
Office, Information & Communication Equipment
PCs, Latops, Mobiles, Telephones, Fax Machines, Copiers, Printers etc.
  Office, Information & Communication Equipment
PCs, Latops, Mobiles, Telephones, Fax Machines, Copiers, Printers etc.
Entertainment & Consumer Electronics
Televisions, VCR/DVD/CD players, Hi-Fi sets, Radios, etc
  Entertainment & Consumer Electronics
Televisions, VCR/DVD/CD players, Hi-Fi sets, Radios, etc
     
Lighting Equipment
Fluorescent tubes, sodium lamps etc. (Except: Bulbs, Halogen Bulbs)
  Lighting Equipment
Fluorescent tubes, sodium lamps etc. (Except: Bulbs, Halogen Bulbs)
Electric and Electronic Tools
Drills, Electric saws, Sewing Machines, Lawn Mowers etc. (Except: large stationary tools/machines)
  Electric and Electronic Tools
Drills, Electric saws, Sewing Machines, Lawn Mowers etc. (Except: large stationary tools/machines)
Toys, Leisure, Sports and Recreational Equipment
Electric train sets, coin slot machines, treadmills etc.
  Toys, Leisure, Sports and Recreational Equipment
Electric train sets, coin slot machines, treadmills etc.
     
Medical Instruments and Equipment   Medical Instruments and Equipment
Surveillance and Control Equipment   Surveillance and Control Equipment
Automatic Issuing Machines   Automatic Issuing Machines

 

Legend:

   Under ORDEE since 1998
   Under ORDEE since January 2005
   Not under ORDEE but under separate regulation
   WEEE Directive implemented by Member States by August 2005 - 08
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