The most common items in the collection and processing category of large electrical appliances (with an edge length of 50 cm or greater) are the following:
washing machines, dishwashers, electric stoves, heaters, radiators, IT and telecommunications equipment (e.g. PCs), lighting fixtures, tools, sport and leisure equipment, and medical devices.
Recovering raw materials
The main output materials recovered from large electrical appliances are ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as plastics. The recycling processes for recovering each of these output portions are described in the individual entries.
The following table presents the approximate proportion of different materials recovered in the processing of large electrical appliances:
|Large electrical appliances||Mass [t]||Proportion [%]|
Hazardous substance removal
Hazardous substances are removed from large electrical appliances at the collection centre, disassembly plant or processing facility.
In this process, all components that contain or could contain hazardous substances must be removed. For example, with traditional household appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, etc., these components may include capacitors and mercury switches. Circuit boards and batteries are removed from all appliances, and oil heaters are emptied. Appliances that contain asbestos (e.g. mobile storage heaters that are not permanently installed) are separated out and sent to special processing companies that are specifically authorised to work with appliances containing asbestos. Permanently-installed storage heaters must be removed by trained professionals who know exactly which hazardous components and substances are present in these appliances, and where they are located.
The hazardous components and substances must be stored and processed separately in order to ensure that no substances are released that could be toxic to human health or the environment. With proper handling at processing facilities designed specifically for hazardous waste, most potential risks to health and the environment can be avoided.