Library Veolia

Our old home appliances are a goldmine!

Posted on 28 September 2017.

Near Angers, Veolia recycles over 80% of electrical and electronic equipment waste - a recovery rate that makes the Saint-Sylvain-d'Anjou center one of the most efficient in Europe.

Household appliances, televisions, computers, tablets, smartphones... We are buying more and more devices and generating more and more waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) containing components that are dangerous for the environment. But all this waste is an amazing deposit of plastic, iron, aluminum, copper, and precious metals - all raw materials that can be recovered and recycled.

At the Saint-Sylvain-d'Anjou center near Angers (Maine-et-Loire), up to 55,000 tonnes of WEEE is handled annually. Through its specialized subsidiary Triade Electronique, Veolia depollutes and recycles over 80 % of the waste. The Group also forges partnerships with manufacturers to encourage them to replace "virgin" materials in their product manufacturing processes with recycled materials.

For example, SEB, Veolia and Ecosystèmes work hand-in-hand to produce small appliances, made in part with recycled plastic. The WEEE is collected by Ecosystèmes and transported to the Angers site where they are sorted and recovered by Veolia. The recycled plastic then feeds the SEB Group's plants to produce, among other things, the casing for a mass market food steamer.

Technological innovation and energy performance

With 94 % recovery rates for large appliances, 91 % for small appliances and 88 % for screens, the Veolia site in Saint-Sylvain-d'Anjou is one of the most efficient in France. Its major asset? Its unique know-how in sorting and recycling plastics, which is present in large quantities in WEEE.

Plastic represents a real technical challenge, in particular because there are several kinds of plastic resins. The Saint-Sylvain-d'Anjou center has an in-house designed sorting system with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year. The process of sorting and separating the various plastic resins (polypropylene, polystyrene, etc.) also identifies brominated plastics.

Result? The separation and depollution of the materials is more efficient, the recycling process is optimized, and the purity rates of the recycled raw materials is between 96 % and 98 %.
And finally, by limiting the extraction of virgin raw materials, the Saint-Sylvain-d'Anjou center avoids the emission of 71,297 tonnes of CO2 every year.