WEEELABEX standards are the Europe-wide requirements relating to the collection and disposal of WEEE.
The St Helens approved authorised treatment facility (AATF) was the first in the UK to be accredited in 2015, Viridor said, “after undergoing an extensive evaluation of its systems and processing of refrigeration treatment”, and is regularly re-assessed.
As part of the latest audit earlier this year, the company worked with technology partners Andritz and Herco to achieve higher recovery levels of the polluting blowing agents used in fridges, which enabled it to retain its WEEELABEX accreditation.
Tom Liddell, Viridor’s head of recycling & integrated assets WEEE, said: “This accreditation shows the efforts and investment the WEEE business is making in driving higher standards within the industry and with recycling and recovery rates.”
Laura Rattigan, the site’s unit manager, said the accreditation would enable it to continue to offer cooling services to a range of companies in the supply chain.
She said: “We are pleased we can continue to offer a WEEELABEX cooling service not only to our customers in the Republic of Ireland but to our producer compliance schemes and future customers who value increased compliance and recycling and recovery rates.”
According to Viridor, the AATF originally opted to pursue accreditation to support a long-standing partnership with KMK Metals Recycling Ltd in the Republic of Ireland.
Kurt Kyck, of KMK, explained that many EU countries mandate that WEEE processing facilities their WEEE is being sent to must achieve WEEELABEX accreditation.
“We have been supplying fridges in large quantities from Ireland to the Viridor recycling plant in St Helens since 2003,” he explained.
Mr Kyck added: “Operating to this standard is a statement of intent and provides producers of cooling appliances with the comfort that their environmental responsibility under the WEEE Directive is being achieved and measured.”
WEEELABEX was originally set up in 2011 by the WEEE Forum – (the European Association of Electrical and Electronic Waste Take Back Systems) and the goal was to establish and enforce a set of Europe-wide standards for the treatment of different types of WEEE.
The St Helens facility accepts both cooling and display equipment, as well as small and large domestic appliance and small mixed WEEE.
The fridge processing plant which has undergone reaccreditation can process 600,000 units per annum while the small domestic appliance plant is capable of processing up to 50,000 tonnes.