New Environmental Certificate to help combat cheating with used electrical equipment

With the introduction of its new environmental certificate, the non-profit organisation Elretur will make it easy for consumers and the public to see which manufacturers and importers of electrical products comply with their producer responsibility obligations to reuse and recycle end-of-life electronic waste.

The companies must reuse, recycle and treat their end-of-life electrical products in order to save scarce resources and take care of the environment. Yet hundreds of companies do not comply with the rules. In the industry, these companies are referred to as “freeriders”. Based on the collection of electronic waste, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency estimates an annual sale of 202,500 tonnes of electronic products. It is estimated that approx. 25% or 51,500 tonnes are never registered, even though the law requires it. The reason is that a large number of companies do not comply with their statutory producer responsibility obligations and thus fail to both shoulder their environmental responsibilities and contribute to the circular economy. From 2025, when producer responsibility will be extended to the collection, reuse and recycling of product packaging, the problem of “freeriders” may become even greater. With the new environmental certificate, Elretur will now ensure that the companies that are aware of their environmental and recycling responsibilities are visible. Elretur is Denmark’s largest actor in the collection, reuse and recycling of end-of-life electronics, with 800 members including both large and small companies.

  • “We want to make it easy for consumers and the public to buy from companies that live up to their responsibilities so that we can extract valuable resources from end-of-life electronics, repair and recycle products, and dispose of the rest in an environmentally responsible manner. It is most likely that many companies are not aware of the legal requirements regarding the handling of old electronics, while others are probably deliberately trying to circumvent their producer responsibility obligations. It harms the circular economy when companies do not contribute, and it makes everyday life unreasonably expensive for companies that do comply with the rules. We must all keep this in mind when we shop”, says CEO of Elretur, Morten Harboe-Jepsen.

Electronic waste is the fastest growing “waste stream” in the industrialised world, and a broad category that, in popular terms, covers all products that require batteries or electricity to work. Mobile phones, laptops, game consoles, home appliances and much more belong to this category. If the products and batteries are not collected, reused, recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, this may have major consequences for our environment and our consumption of scarce resources.

  • For example, we can recycle 60% of the contents of old batteries in new electronics and cables. The old electronics may also be repairable. If not, we can extract plastic, iron, aluminium, copper, gold and other metals from your old mobile phone. By recovering gold from electronic waste, we can save 80% of the CO2 emissions compared to extracting it from mines. 87% of everything we hand in as “small electronics” at the recycling station ends up in new products. So there are very large environmental and economic gains to be made by handling electronic waste the right way, Morten Harboe-Jepsen says.

Elretur is currently travelling around Denmark telling companies subject to the extended producer responsibility how they can handle end-of-life electronics in a way that benefits us all. This happens at corona-friendly events.

Further information

For further information, please contact: CEO of Elretur, Morten Harboe-Jepsen: Mobile +45 40318187 Email: mhj@elretur.dk The The analysis of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency can also be viewed HERE Read more here: elretur.dk/certifikat


Environmental issues particularly in relation to small electronics and white goods: CEO Henrik Egede, APPLiA Denmark (formerly the association of manufacturers of electronic household appliances) on mobile +45 21 74 82 66.