July 2005

Powerful partnership formed in the certification of fridge recycling plants

The implementation of the European WEEE directive has lent new weight to the issue of certifying recycling companies that offer environmentally sound processing of waste fridges and freezers.

The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG), which transposes the WEEE directive into German law, covers the marketing, takeback and environmentally benign recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment and contains explicit stipulations regarding the certification of waste treatment facilities. Section 11 of the Act states that plants at which waste electrical and electronic equipment is initially treated must be subject to annual certification by an expert auditor. Certification may only be issued if the plant meets the technical requirements necessary for it to fulfill its waste recycling purpose and if “all primary data needed to compute and provide proof of the recovery rates is systematically and plausibly documented.”

Companies that treat and recycle waste refrigeration equipment are particularly significant in terms of climate protection. First, these companies must be able to recover as much as possible of the CFCs and other climatically relevant substances from the waste appliances for subsequent safe destruction. Secondly, all the material input and output streams must be continuously and completely documented to guarantee transparent monitoring of plant operations.

It seems likely that similar regulations will be introduced in other European countries. Working in conjunction with SGS-TÜV Saarland GmbH, the RAL Quality Assurance Association has conducted over 80 annual audits of fridge recycling plants. Their extensive experience in this environmentally sensitive area of WEEE management makes RAL and SGS-TÜV Saarland the team of choice when it comes to certifying initial waste treatment plants.

Importantly, plant tests carried out on the basis of the RAL GZ 728 quality assurance and test specifications include all the test parameters demanded by the WEEE directive and its implementation in the national laws and regulations of EU member states. Companies with the RAL GZ 728 quality mark can therefore rest assured that their fridge recycling services are fully WEEE-compliant.


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