Conformity assessment of Swiss e-waste recycling companies

Triggered by wild landfilling of electrical and electronic equipment, producers and importers in Switzerland began as early as the beginning of the 1990s with setting up take-back and recycling solutions, thus fulfilling the policy principle of extended producer responsibility. This has made it possible to remove harmful substances from discarded appliances, to dispose them in an environmentally sound manner and to recover valuable materials. Since the beginning, the recycling activities were audited by Empa as a conformity assessment body to ensure that the equipment was treated in an environmentally sound manner.

The auditing on the basis of the series of standards SN EN 50625 delivers to the companies, but also the research community important findings for determining the efficiency of the recovery of raw materials and the separation and environmentally sound disposal of pollutants. Since 1994, Empa has been carrying out conformity assessments of the recycling partners of Swico, the Swiss IT and Office Electronics Association. In addition to monitoring legal compliance, the auditing includes annual monitoring of material flows and regular batch tests to determine the efficiency of the recycling processes. The results enable the industry to maintain and continuously improve the state of the art. And the research receives important results and insights in the context of urban mining.

See also:
Heinz Böni
Technology & Society Laboratory
Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
9014 St. Gallen
Tel. +41 58 765 78 58

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