Collection of WEEE

The term WEEE (waste from electrical and electronic equipment) covers all products powered by electrical or electromagnetic currents (supplied by dry-cell batteries, mains power or accumulators). In France, 1.5 million tonnes of new appliances are put on the market and 340,000 tonnes of used products are recycled each year. To give you an idea, every home in France has approximately 20 kg of electrical and electronic equipment but generates a similar weight of B-to-C (Business to Consumer) WEEE. A quantity of waste that is not yet fully treated, since recycling companies only recover 7 kg of this type of product per head per year. Paprec D3E collects household WEEE in partnership with specialist eco-organisations, directly with distributors and with recycling centres. A process, the operation of which we will detail, to discover how the group acquires products before taking them to waste sorting sites.


This type of collection, which mainly concerns WEEE produced by major retailers, industrial producers, SMEs and households essentially takes place in recycling centres on behalf of certain eco-organisations. Wire crates (the number of which varies with the size of the site) are made available to users and assist with the recovery of four types of product: small domestic appliances, screens, large non-refrigeration domestic appliances and large refrigeration appliances.

Above a certain threshold (usually set at one or two tonnes of electrical and electronic waste) and at the recycling centre's request, Paprec D3E plans an optimised collection round and recovers WEEE, which will then be tracked, received, separated and sorted on waste treatment and consolidation sites.

Although group drivers have various waste collection and management tools for doing this, such as mobile weighing machines, pallet trucks (manual or electric hydraulic trucks for transporting pallets) and 19-tonne lorries with tailgates (lifting platforms at the rear of the lorry), the recovery of WEEE always involves at least some handling. For example, collecting recyclable waste, sometimes spread all around the recycling centre (although small appliances are placed in cages, larger items, such as refrigerators and washing machines are placed on the ground), filling cages that are only partly full, putting new cages in position and, of course, loading various appliances onto pallets and forklift trucks.

Demanding work done by trained operators (usually single-handed in recycling centres) prepared to do that type of work. And although the ratio changes with the situation, rural or urban, and the different recycling centre networks visited by group operators, it is estimated that a single 19-tonne tailgate lorry can collect approximately one hundred tonnes of waste of electrical and electronic equipment per month, with optimised rounds enabling each of these lorries able to collect WEEE from two, three or sometimes four recycling centres per day.


The collection of used batteries, those special small products associated with WEEE, also takes place in recycling centres. Users deposit their waste in 200-litre drums provided for the purpose, lined with a plastic bag. These special containers are then collected by Paprec operators, grouped together and sent to specialist waste treatment centres where they are ground and recycled.

Where batteries are collected from businesses, small crates, appropriate to the size of the various installations, are made available to employees to facilitate the recovery of this particular type of WEEE.


The term B-to-B waste covers all waste from electrical and electronic equipment produced by businesses, i.e. computer equipment (central processor units, monitors, servers, keyboards, mice, fax machines, printers, laptops), which makes up 90% of the products recovered, and fixed-line and mobile phones. 

For this, two WEEE collection modes are possible, to facilitate waste management: the first one involves making wire cages available on customers’ or producers’ premises and they are then responsible for pre-sorting IT (and other) waste. This means, for example, dividing WEEE into product families, so as to make final sorting and pollution removal, and therefore value recovery from recyclable waste, easier. 

In the second instance, waste recycling companies like Paprec D3E from time to time collect and recover bulk professional waste from the basement or an upper floor in the building. This is a more complicated procedure, due to the relatively complicated accessibility of the waste, sometimes stored in the basement or on the upper floor of a building, or to the weight of some products, such as computer servers.

Here again, these collection operations involve handling and the occasional use of small lorries able to enter the car-parks of the different buildings.


Since 1994, Volvo Trucks has been the number-one supplier of lorries to Paprec Group, which is eager to maximise its efficiency (the breakdown rate for Volvo lorries is the lowest in the market) while reducing its environmental impact (95% recyclable, the 40-tonners chosen consume less than 30 litres per 100 km, which, on a weight-for-weight basis, is a sixth of that off an ordinary car). With a maximum 25-tonne load capacity, heavy goods vehicles belonging to France’s leading recycling company (using Tautliner semi-trailers and other vehicles capable of loading all types of Guima standard skip) are becoming more and more common on the roads in France as the group expands to a national scale.

With variable power, the most efficient ones (750 hp Volvo FH16s) are given to the group's best drivers, rewarded with Castors d’Or. In the Paprec fleet today, 1000 lorries are fitted with global positioning technology and can therefore easily be identified and diverted to meet any urgent requirement. All Paprec waste management skips are also fitted with trackers, which help to optimise the collection rounds of vehicles collecting electronic and electrical waste.+6
The recycling batteries and waste electrical and electronic equipment is a step-by-step process. Discover the different steps:

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