The large domestic appliance reprocessing plant, operated by AO Recycling – which is part of online retail giant AO.com – has been awarded the WEEELABEX certification.
WEEELABEX standards are the world’s first Europe-wide requirements relating to the collection and disposal of WEEE.
The certification was awarded to AO after auditors from WEELABEX visited the Telford-based facility, which was put into operation by the company in 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story) and is expected to recycle 700,000 fridges in its first year.
Successful auditing by WEEELABEX “demonstrates that AO’s recycling facilities are certified to the highest standards”, the company said in a statement.
The audit was led by Julie-Anne Adams of Really Green Credentials.
The plant itself removes all hazardous components and creates value streams of materials as well as preparing functional items for reuse.
An 80 tonne machine, designed and built specifically for the plant, works by smashing fridges to their constituent metals, plastics and insulation foam using heavy duty rotating steel chains which operate inside a sealed chamber.
Materials are then separated and sorted at the plant for recycling. Packaging will also be recycled at the AO recycling site, while some appliances will be refurbished and sold on as second-hand items.
Anthony Sant, sales and marketing director for AO Recycling said that the site ‘plays an important role in the UK’s WEEE recycling system’.
He said: “Waste electrical equipment represents the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Recycling these unwanted items sustainably and efficiently will be the key waste management challenge of the coming decades. Large Domestic Appliances and fridges have proved especially difficult to deal with in a way which maximises resource efficiency and limits environmental impact.”
Most appliances arrive at the facility from AO.com customers who have purchased a new item via the online retailer. It also offers its cooling recycling services to other third party companies and has contracts in place with a number of Producer Compliance Schemes.
Wayne Copley, procurement director of producer compliance scheme Repic, whose members include some of the biggest producers of large domestic appliances, added that the quality approval is “great news” for the WEEE recycling industry.
Mr Copley said: “This new infrastructure investment combined with WEEELABEX quality approval is will be welcomed by producers of electronic equipment.
“It’s a tough challenge to meet the WEEE Regulations treatment requirements and to know one of our key recycling partners has been given the seal of approval from WEEELABEX will give producers peace of mind that WEEE is being dealt with effectively, efficiently and sustainably.”
WEEELABEX was set up in 2011 by the WEEE Forum – the European Association of Electrical and Electronic Waste Take Back Systems – to establish and enforce a set of Europe-wide standards for the collection, sorting, storage and transportation of different types of WEEE.
6 June 2018, Cavendish Conference Centre
WEEE collection rates and progress towards future targets will be among the topics covered at the 2018 WEEE Conference. Join us to debate these issues and more.