Politics, Cooperation and Knowledge Building
Internationally, Sweden has long been regarded as a forerunner when it comes to environmental issues and sustainability and recycling is no exception. Compared with other countries, collection rates are high and handling processes have become more advanced in order to remove hazardous substances and recover as much of the materials collected as possible.
At the same time, this brings great responsibility. We import and use a great deal more resources than the global average. For this reason, it is good to see that our developing efforts resonate with the rest of the world and that many are interested in considering everything from recycling techniques and legislative texts to the way different participants interact. And Swedish researchers turn to El-Kretsen when they need a starting point for future studies. Below are some examples of exciting issues for the future:
- How do we handle materials that are new to the electronics sector, for example cellulose-based materials?
- What are the processes and techniques available for plastic recycling today and in the future?
- How can we increase the supply and improve the prospects of extracting rare metals from electronic goods?
- How can we increase the supply and improve the prospects of reusing components in electronic goods?
- How do we motivate and inform people to make sure waste collection and recycling carry a positive charge?
As a national collection system, we keep an eye on the flows. Driving progress towards the most efficient processes possible lies in our own interest as well as in that of society. One of the consequences of having a lot of knowledge based on data and conclusions drawn from studies is being able to have opinions on what methods would be most efficient when trying to reach specific results. We have already mentioned politics as an important means of applying policy steering. Our knowledge and our statistics are available to anyone who wishes to propose changes for the future. If you want to create change, you need to start with a grasp of the current situation. Over the years, El-Kretsen has built a knowledge bank which we freely offer to anyone who wants to pursue the same issues, be it researchers, politicians or simply the rest of the world.
El-Kretsen – a knowledge hub
Sweden’s goals for the collection and handling of WEEE and batteries are politically determined and should be based on data, facts and the results of surveys made by recycling stakeholders. It is vital that the data is objective and evidence-based, that the proposed changes are based on the current situation (bearing in mind variables like deviations, accidental incidents and technology shifts) and, not least, that the terminology we use is generally accepted and understood. If even one of these conditions is not met, the risk is that we end up with targets that are either pointless or wildly unrealistic. The data we have collected at El-Kretsen over the years explains the historic, current and trending activities around the collection and handling of WEEE and batteries.