The theft of valuable electrical and electronic components does significant financial damage to European e-scrap recyclers. An estimated 22 per cent of e-waste volumes in Europe are subject to scavenging before they arrive at recycling facilities, resulting in annual losses in revenue of more than €170m, according to Jaco Huisman of the United Nations University. Speaking at the International Electronics Recycling Congress in Salzburg on Wednesday, Mr Huisman discussed the findings of a study on the scale of e-waste scavenging and its economic and ecologic consequences which he carried out in cooperation with the European Electronics Recycling Association (EERA).
In addition to the economic losses, Mr Huisman also highlighted the environmental problems stemming from the improper removal of valuable components from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The largest losses were observed for fridges and freezers. More than half of the refrigerators and freezers coming to end-of-life in Europe never reached the recycler. Among those that did, nearly one in every four had been stripped of its compressor.