AMDEA > Industry Issues > Sustainability > Recycling & Recovery

Recycling & Recovery

The appliance industry’s circular vision for its products means the end-of-life of an appliance has now evolved into new beginnings. This results in secondary materials, some of which are used in new home appliances. In fact, for every three large appliances bought in the UK, two are recycled.

WEEE regulations and policy

AMDEA and its members are committed participants in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) scheme, regulated by the UK Government, which aims to maximise recycled materials and to minimise the amount of unwanted electricals incinerated or sent for landfill.

The industry funds WEEE processing to recover materials from old appliances when new ones are purchased. It also funds information programmes encouraging correct recycling of unwanted electricals.

Recycling

Achievements:

Two appliances recycled

for every three large appliances bought in the UK

Over 80%

of the material in large appliances is recycled

Small electricals, way to go...

155,000 tonnes

of small electricals were thrown away, the equivalent to 5 bags of sugar per home

Recycling old small electricals

would cut as much CO2 as taking 1.3 million cars off the road

Recovery of materials

The recovery of re-usable materials and components contained in appliances is key to the circular economy. Manufacturers put great emphasis on ensuring they design products that can be more easily recycled or reused. Through the industry-funded WEEE scheme – after items are sorted, dismantled and shredded – secondary raw materials are freed up and made available for another use. This includes, where safe and suitable, going into producing new home appliances. Manufacturers are devising ways to enhance the recovery process. They have, for example, established their own take-back schemes to achieve or exceed recovery and recycling targets and identified opportunities for reusing waste materials. This is complemented by take-back schemes operated by electrical goods retailers, who since 2013 have offered their own in-store service or belong to distributor take-back programmes.

Repair

AMDEA members helped develop and fully support the UK Government’s recently enacted ‘right to repair’ regulations. In practice, the industry was already complying with most, if not all of these requirements, by maintaining the availability of spare parts for up to 10 years and making service engineers available.

The industry focuses, with sustainability in mind, on building appliances to last. It also encourages consumers to consider whether they may be keeping old products running to the detriment of the environment, when they could be using much less energy or water by embracing new eco-efficient tech.

As safety is a vitally important consideration for repairs, the industry strongly promotes certain repairs being carried out by qualified personnel with manufacturers’ specified parts. Many manufacturers operate factory outlets, where newly returned models can be quality checked and sold.