Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) covers items such as worn-out computers, monitors, printers, television sets as well as broken washing machines, cookers, refrigerators, freezers and fluorescent strip lighting. The disposal of this old electrical and electronic equipment is regulated within Europe by the WEEE Directive, which emphasises the responsibility of the producing industry towards its products. This means that manufacturers have to take back old and broken equipment and pay for their disposal.
The disposal itself is very difficult, because not only does the electrical and electronic waste often contain valuable metals such as aluminium and copper, but it also contains harmful substances such as mercury. Therefore this waste has to be collected separately from household waste, by either taking it to recycling and waste collection centre or via the bulky refuse collection. Nehlsen has also established special collection points for electrical and electronic waste at its own operational sites. After collection, the waste is taken to a special dismantling centre, where the different electrical and electronic equipment is separated into valuable reusable materials and harmful substances. The harmful materials, such as mercury from TV monitors and CFCs from refrigerators are then treated separately before being recycled, incinerated or disposed of.