Repair, reuse and recycle for success: award-winning LIFE RE-WEEE leads the way

Repair, reuse and recycle for success: award-winning LIFE RE-WEEE leads the way

More than three years after it officially closed, one of LIFE’s most successful projects lives on in Greece. A thriving legacy of repairing, reusing and recycling electronic equipment benefits citizens, businesses – and the environment.

The LIFE RE-WEEE project may have wrapped up in 2020 after five years, but its impact endures. Its two commercial partners continue to offer repair, reuse and recycling services in the Greek regions of Attica and Central Macedonia in line with the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.

Businesses and individuals can take their waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) – mainly computers, printers and point of sale items – to specially designated shops from where they are collected and taken for repurposing.

During the project’s lifetime alone, an impressive 3,100 tonnes of WEEE was inspected, of which more than half went for recycling, reuse or repair. 347 tonnes were successfully put back into use, with 104 tonnes sold in both the Greek and international markets. More than 1600 laptops and tablets were repaired and reused, some of which have been donated to schools and civil society organisations. Other results included two screening centres – the first ever in Greece – one run by a private company and one by the local council. It’s hoped these will act as pilots for similar facilities in other Greek regions.

A major element in the project was education and public engagement – seven free-to-use Repair Cafés were set up. There citizens could learn how to repair minor faults in their small appliances. The project also developed guides for citizens with advice on how to extend the life of their electronic equipment. The technical specifications for all operational stages of the RE-WEEE management system are being incorporated into Greece’s legislative framework.

All these achievements were recognised when LIFE RE-WEEE won Gold in the field of Resource Sustainability in the Waste Management – Reuse category at the 2020 Environmental Awards.