FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

WEEE is waste electrical and electronic equipment. It is end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment and covers virtually everything with a plug or battery (ie. Draws current to operate). It is classed as either household or non-household WEEE. Examples are as follows:

Electronic Equipment Electrical Equipment
Cell Phones and other telephone Systems Washing Machines and tumble driers
Television Sets Kettles and Toasters etc.
Laptops and Desktop Computers Microwave and other Ovens
Radios and portable sound equipment Hairdryers and straighteners
Keyboard and Mouse Lighting and luminaires
Computer and other screens Transformers
Clocks and watches Vacuum Cleaners
Torches and calculators Electrical tools and power tools
Speakers Electrical motors and machinery
Printers and cartridges Distribution Boards
TV decoder sets and games consoles Electric garden equipment
Scanners and Sonar machines Solar Panels
Electric toys and gadgets Fridges and Freezers
IT servers and office equipment Air Conditioners & Heat Exchangers

Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital. It is based on three principles:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. The goals are broad based and interdependent. The 17 sustainable development goals each have a list of targets which are measured with indicators.

The Sustainable Development Goals are:

1. No Poverty10. Reducing Inequality
2. Zero Hunger11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
3. Good Health and Well-being12. Responsible Consumption and Production
4. Quality Education13. Climate Action
5. Gender Equality14. Life Below Water
6. Clean Water and Sanitation15. Life On Land
7. Affordable and Clean Energy16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth17. Partnerships for the Goals
9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure 

As per the Department of Environmental Affairs definition - "any substance, material or object, that is unwanted, rejected, abandoned, discarded or disposed of, or that is intended or required to be discarded or disposed of, by the holder of that substance, material or object, whether or not such substance, material or object, whether or not such substance, material can be re-used, recycled or recovered and includes all wastes as defined in Schedule 3 ."

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is classified as hazardous waste. This is because WEEE contains hazardous components or substances such as: polychlorinated biphenyls, e.g. in capacitors. Some examples have been listed

In televisions, laptop computers, tablets and mobile phones with screens, hazardous components may include any of the following:

  • activated glass
  • phosphors
  • CRT
  • fluorescent backlight
  • printed circuit boards - containing nickel
  • capacitors
  • Ni-Cd batteries for portable devices

In Fridges, freezers, chillers and air-conditioning units' hazardous components may include any of the following:

  • foam - flammable hydrocarbons or ozone depleting substances
  • motors and pumps containing oil
  • cooling agents
  • printed circuit boards containing nickel

If you are not sure what to do with old electronic items and electrical equipment such as domestic appliances (ie. washing machines) at the end of their useful lives, contact Reclite SA for more information and for compliant environmentally friendly recovery and recycling.

Household batteries can be dropped off at certain retailers where a battery collection container is available.

Consumers should not “store” these items in their drawers, garages or cupboards. These items deteriorate over time and the batteries become dangerous with age. This can be a risk in terms of fire and getting into the wrong hands such as children as well as pets and other animals

Customers can send all WEEE categories to Reclite SA, eg. All electronic and electrical waste, all batteries, solar products, all types of lighting waste and associated lighting product waste to Reclite SA. Contact the Reclite SA sales team to find out more about our services and products available for collection and transportation if required.

“The dirty little secret is that when you give your electronic waste or old appliance to a non-licenced illegal (no waste management Licence) so called "recycler or refurbisher", instead of treating it responsibly, about 80 percent of that material, very quickly, finds itself on an informal piece of land being "burnt" or stripped to cherry pick out only the valuable parts, these parts are illegally sold to scrap dealers, where it will most likely enter a container ship going to a country like China, Nigeria, India, Vietnam, Pakistan — where further dirty processes occur.” Through a compliant and licenced local recycler and treatment facility, the value is kept within the country, and the non-valuable parts are responsibly treated and recycled with no impact to humans or the environment. So, when you have electronic waste to throw out, check the companies' credentials first, and as a further check, ensure that you are provided with a recycling or destruction certificate (which will have the licence number on it as issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs), showing evidence that the waste was treated compliantly and environmentally responsibly.

Waste electronics and electrical goods, batteries and waste lighting such as CFLs, fluorescent tubes etc. that are thrown into general rubbish will end up in landfill which is a negative impact for the environment. Additionally, it is a waste of resources that could be recovered, it and the value that could be recovered is lost. When these products are recovered it creates opportunities for job creation and contributes to the local economy.

It is up to us as responsible consumers to each take individual action to ensure that our electronic and electrical waste such as old cell phones, cables, computers, household appliances and lighting is handed over to a compliant responsible treatment facility such as Reclite SA.

ALL WEEE that is accumulated for recycling should be stored in fir-for-purpose collection bins that minimise breakage or leakage.

Any release to the environment from broken waste products that have a tendency to leak or contaminate the surrounds, must be contained immediately and handled properly. Reclite can assist with the clean-up of large spills. Contact Reclite SA to assist with any storage or spill requirements.

Employees are educated on the proper handling of WEEE products and emergency procedures in case of breaks or spills. Training is provided by Reclite to customers’ staff on proper WEEE handling and storage upon request.

Reclite SA supplies containers that are fit for purpose, are structurally stronger, and are made from recyclable materials. At the end of their useful lives these containers can be recycled without any waste to landfill. Reclite SA has become the preferred supplier and the leader in supplying WEEE containers in South Africa and other countries.

Other container types supplied in the market are made from weak cardboard structures that collapse and fold easily, thereby failing on the safe carrying and storing capability. The "stronger" versions are made from non-recyclable materials such as fibreglass which will end up in landfill at the end of its life, thereby creating more waste.

Reclite SA's operation is a controlled and safe process with no risk for human exposure, building or environmental contamination, due to mercury vapour release.

Sending whole uncrushed lamps for recycling at Reclite SA's facility is likely to be cheaper than owning and operating a drum-top crusher, as the need for the required DEA waste management licence, maintenance, operator and PPE costs are eliminated.

The additional potential costs to mitigate unhealthy, unsafe exposure and building contamination, is also eliminated.

The lamps are handled once only, when the lamps are placed in Reclite SA's safe storage bins.

Thereafter the lamps are processed directly and safely in the Reclite SA lamp processing plant.

What is Mercury Vapour?

When a fluorescent lamp breaks, phosphorous powder and the invisible mercury vapour are released, and continue to dissipate at normal room temperature. This vapour, when inhaled or released, can be potentially harmful to human health and the environment, and precautions must be taken to ensure that you do not have direct exposure to the released contents

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