Studies and Proposals

WEEE: Where did it go?

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is all those equipment and devices needing electric currents to function properly –such as refrigerators, washing machines, smartphones, vacuum cleaners but also light bulbs, tablets, PC mouses, headphones, etc. –and that we decide to throw away oncethey become obsolete or break.

Where does WEEE end up once it leaves the homes of Italians?

To answer this question, Erion WEEE and Altroconsumo decided to carry out the investigation “WEEE: Where did it go?”. A total of 370 WEEE were used for the investigation, of which 300 were large appliances and 70 small appliances (such as smartphones, tablet and speakers) disposed of by citizens.

Each of these old or broken appliances and equipment was fitted with a GPS device capable of tracking its location all the way from the homewhere it was located.

The investigation updates the one already carried out in 2019 on around 200 large household appliances which showed the existence of unofficial management circuits and a lack of controls along the whole chain.

WEEE, unlike other types of waste such as paper, cardboard and glass, is often not disposed of properly. It is forgotten in closets, stashed in garages or attics or, in the worst cases, thrown in the bin for the plastic or in the garbage can. Yet, if properly recycled, WEEE represents a key resource for our future and that of the Planet. Italy has made giant strides in the collection and treatment of WEEE.

Follow us:

Discover the Investigation

Read the Executive Summary