Innovations in WEEE Management

14 october 2019

The Moscow Department of Public Utilities and Amenities, Moscow Agency of Innovations announce an open challenge for innovations in managing waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).


As the Russian Federation has imposed liability on manufacturers/importers for the disposal of products at the end of their service life and banned the landfilling of WEEE, the issue of WEEE recycling is gaining particular significance.


With tens of millions of electrical and electronic appliances sold annually in Russia, WEEE represents one of the fastest growing waste streams. The life cycle of such appliances shrinks every year. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Russia generates about 1.4 million tons of electronic scrap annually, while only about 5% of it gets recycled.


Such an increase in WEEE volumes over previous years stems from the abolition of licensing for certain types of waste management activities. Also, according to Rosprirodnadzor, large volumes of waste electrical and electronic equipment remain in storage.


WEEE contains hazardous substances (mercury, cadmium, lead and others) as well as valuable materials (in particular, rare earth metals). Russian regulations prohibit the landfilling of WEEE, which contains useful recyclable components, and specify types of waste banned from landfilling, such as electrochemical cells, computing, household and office equipment and its components.


This open challenge is driven by the need to create effective mechanisms for separate WEEE collection, disposal and recycling in Moscow.


The disposal of various types of WEEE has various economic implications. Some components are commercially attractive, others are not, while technically it is possible to recycle up to 95% of WEEE. As a result, the absence of a centralized system for the accumulation, collection and disposal of WEEE in Moscow has a number of negative consequences, for example:

  • hazardous waste containing mercury (including electrochemical cells) gets mixed with municipal solid waste (MSW) and buried at landfills;
  • refrigerants from refrigeration waste escape into the atmosphere;
  • a lack of control over the disposal of acid batteries (batteries, uninterruptible power supplies) leads to irresponsible recycling practices by certain companies that extract lead from batteries while dumping acid electrolytes into the environment and mixing plastics with MSW;
  • the collection of WEEE from organizations is carried out by a multitude of private companies, with very little control over their disposal practices; as a result, commercially attractive WEEE with valuable components are redeemed, while the remaining part of WEEE is shipped to landfills.


We are looking for integrated solutions that will help us:

  • design a system to keep track of WEEE volumes and sources;
  • design mechanisms to prevent WEEE from coming to landfills;
  • implement an environmentally friendly process for the treatment and disposal of WEEE.


Technical requirements:

• connection to existing power sources;

• fully automated WEEE processing and disposal;

• capability to handle required amounts of WEEE.


Regulatory documents addressing WEEE management issues:

  1. Federal Law of 26.03.1998 No. 41-FZ (as amended on 05.23.2018) “On Precious Metals and Precious Stones”.
  2. Federal Law of 24.06.1998 No. 89-FZ (as amended on 29.07.2018) “On Manufacturing and Household Waste”.
  3. Order of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation of 19.12.2016 No. 231n “Instructions on the procedure for registering and storing precious metals, precious stones, products made of them and maintaining records in their production, use and circulation”.
  4. Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 28.09.2000 No. 731 (as amended on 17.10.2015) “On approval of the rules for registering and storing precious metals, precious stones and products made of them, as well as for maintaining relevant reporting activities”.
  5. Criminal Code of the Russian Federation of 13.06.1996 No. 63-FZ (as amended on 12.11.2018): Article 191: “Illegal circulation of precious metals, natural gemstones or pearls”; Article 192: “Violation of the rules for the transfer of precious metals and precious stones to the state.”
  6. Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses of 30.12.2001 No. 195-FZ (as amended on 28.11.2017): Article 19.14 “Violation of the rules for the extraction, production, use, circulation, receipt, registration and storage of precious metals, pearls, precious stones or products containing them.”