Electrical and electronic waste

Published: May 28, 2024

Electrical and electronic waste is abbreviated as "WEEE" and includes any equipment that plugs into an outlet, has a cable, battery or circuit board, such as small or large appliances: refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, vacuum cleaners, kettles, iron, computer/laptop, etc. Most households are equipped with electrical and electronic appliances, being used for an average of 2-8 years, and others even less.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment with used batteries is toxic waste and very dangerous for the environment and health, because it contains a series of harmful substances, particularly toxic, which affect the components of the environment, but also human health:

  • freon(CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs) that deplete the ozone layer and have a high global warming impact;
  • brominated flame retardants, which may cause memory impairment or affect the normal functioning of the thyroid gland and the hormonal system in cases of long-term exposure;
  • PCB – polychlorinated biphenyl compounds, found in older devices, manufactured until 1987, affecting the liver, immune system, digestive tract, thyroid gland and more;
  • Mercury– affects the nervous system and kidneys;
  • PVC – plastic material with chlorine content, used in some electronics and to insulate cables; their improper processing (by burning) causes emissions of dioxins and furans that are very persistent in the environment and are the most toxic substances after radioactive materials

The impact of WEEE on the environment is considerable, affecting everything that is alive when these harmful substances enter further in the food chain. WEEE can be recycled when it no longer meets the use-reuse conditions and cannot be repaired. It is recommended that they be collected separately and handed over to authorized operators for their neutralization and recycling.

What is included in this category: large and small household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment, consumer and lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, sports and leisure equipment, toys, medical devices, surveillance and control instruments, mobile phones , watches, computers, MP3 players, CD players, irons, electric toothbrushes, toasters, power cables and tools, televisions, computers, games consoles, fire alarms, refrigerators, electric hobs, washing machines, dryers and radiators, alarm clocks, welding devices, video game devices, medical equipment and vending machines, used batteries, lamps, bubbles, car batteries, accumulators, light bulbs, neon tubes, etc.

NOT included here: Mercury thermometers, fluorescent lamps, incandescent light bulbs, paints, medicines



Used batteries are harmful due to the heavy metals they contain (mercury, nickel, lead, cadmium), which can contaminate the soil, ground water and affect vegetation. The same metals can seriously affect the health of the population. A used battery, ending up in the ground or in the trash can, and later in the landfill, pollutes 1 square meter of land and 10 liters of water. An estimated calculation, according to which a person has on average 8-10 used batteries, compared to the population of a locality, reveals the proportion of environmental pollution.

What can we do to prevent pollution with these harmful substances:

It is recommended to collect them separately and store them in specially arranged places, or hand them over to authorized operators for their neutralization.