Our end-of-life electrical and electronic appliances are gold mines … literally, they contain dozens of components made from precious metals which are completely wasted if the products are simply discarded. Some of their components are also quite dangerous, and should not be leaked into the environment or handled inappropriately. In general our WEEE (Waste of Electrical and Electronics Equipment, or DEEE for Déchets d’Equipements Electriques et Electroniques in French) ends up in developing countries where materials are partially recovered in appalling sanitary conditions.
The good news is that a take-back program and recycling centers now make it very simple to properly dispose of old electronics and electrical equipment in Belgium.
Which Products are we talking about?
Any product which you plug in to an electrical outlet. Hair dryer, computer, phone, fridge … you name it. All these items are considered as eWaste.
What if the product is still in working condition?
If the product you’re looking to get rid off is still in working condition, consider donating it! Several social enterprises in Brussels can take your equipment back, very often they will refurbish it, sell it or donate it. People around you might also be interested!
Ressources coordinates all local social enterprises which will give a second life to your equipment: Le Grenier, La Poudrière and Les Petits Riens will take back your functioning white goods and IT equipment. L’atelier TIC Tanneurs and CF2D will refurbish your IT equipment and make it available to those in need in Brussels.
You might also want to give your product a second life by selling it… or not replacing it!
And if the product is definitively out of service?
You have two options:
- Bring back the old equipment to a shop … any shop! As long as you buy a replacement product from that shop, they are legally required to take back your used equipment and dispose of it properly. There is no restriction on where or when your original purchase was made. This also applies to large equipment (such as washing machines for example) for which you need a home delivery, the shop will take back your old equipment. This take-back system is known in Belgium as Recupel.
- Bring your equipment at any recycling center (They are known as Parcs à Conteneurs or Déchetteries in Brussels). This service is also free. The centers are open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 4pm. Don’t forget to bring a proof of residence. There are two locations in Brussels:
- South: Boulevard de la Deuxième Armée Britannique n°676, 1190 Bruxelles.
- North: rue du Rupel (Along the Canal, close to the Van Praet bridge) , 1000 Bruxelles.
Anything Else ?
Zonzoo will buy your old phone and recycle it … and they’ll give 5% of the value of your phone to non-profits. You can see directly online how much your phone is worth. Check out their UK site for info and details in English, but you’ll have to use the French and Flemish Belgian site. YouRecycle also offers a similar service.
Bebat manages the collection and recycling of batteries in Belgium. They have hundred of collection boxes in supermarkets, schools and offices.