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Target practice

The Netherlands waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) processing system has proved effective in ensuring that fridges are processed for E15 (£10) and TVs for E8 (£5) for each unit, while the additional costs of processing and recycling other items of WEEE are even more modest. Within this system the Netherlands Association for Disposal of Metalectro Products (NVMP) The Dutch E&EE Recycle System believes it offers a low-cost, efficient solution for compliance with the WEEE Directive.

Although the Netherlands has a visible waste disposal fee, it is added to only a limited range of items. However, NVMP will take back all items of white and brown WEEE offered to it. The only small household appliances on which fees are levied are those requiring special treatment. These include coffee machines because they contain asbestos, electric frying pans because they often contain oil, and vacuum cleaners because they always contain their last dust collections.

NVMP takes responsibility for WEEE after collection through local authorities, retail distribution centres, retailers and repair shops. There are 500 municipalities linked into 65 regional distribution stations, 50 retail distribution centres and 1,000 retailers and repair shops linked into the system.

NVMP prides itself on encouraging all participants. It offers collection from shops, which need have only eight or more appliances, and offers 10% of the fee back. Municipalities are provided with a fair sorting and collecting allowance and consumers are encouraged to participate. Therefore, of NVMPs turnover, 56% is spent on a wide range of promotional activities, including TV slots, newspaper advertisements, point-of-sale leaflets and other items. NVMP claims 97% awareness among the participants of the scheme.

Free collection is undertaken, with three logistics companies employed and 70 logistics orders handled each day, with the WEEE being moved from collection points in two working days.

The scheme therefore is meeting the WEEE Directives annual collection target of 4kg per person with 4.5kg being collected over each of the past three years. However, it is estimated that more than 60% of large white goods are put through the traditional scrap sector for income for their providers, so that the Netherlands is actually recovering twice the WEEE Directives collection target. NVMP also claims that it is reaching the directives recovery and recycling targets.

Because the NVMP system has generated increasing surpluses from its fees, many producers are reluctant to support other national collective systems, wanting instead to ensure that any finance is under their own control. NVMP has commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers to evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme and reports suggest that the lowest costs for a national collection scheme can be achieved through such a collective scheme.


Ron Cramer, sales manager for Coolrec, which is part of the van Gevanswinkel company, has an annual turnover of E500m. The company has four plants with the Coolrec plant in Dortrecht being the biggest. The others are newer with the two in Belgium operating over the past two years in joint operations with other companies. Last year the company dealt with 1.1 million fridges and freezers, 700,000 TVs and 10,000 tonnes of other WEEE items.

The Dortrecht plant currently handles 2,000 refrigerators and 1,000 TVs each day with a total workforce of 60 people, only one of whom is an administrator. The five-day-a-week, two-shift system operates over a 15-hour working day. There is no potential for reuse of appliances or of components, everything coming into the plant is processed or, in the case of certain fridges, sent elsewhere for processing.

Before the fridges are processed, the cables are cut off to be reprocessed for recycling, the glass and trays are removed for recycling and, where applicable, mercury switches are removed. Before shredding the gas/oil coolant mixture is removed, but only ha

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