Hellenic Fridge Recycling S.A. (HFR), headquartered in Corinth, is the first company in Greece to be awarded the international Weeelabex certificate for the demanufacture of end-of-life refrigeration equipment. The Weeelabex acronym stands for ‘WEEE Label of Excellence’ and HFR is the first Greek fridge recycling company to independently apply for and obtain Weeelabex certification.
Weeelabex is a non-profit organization based in Prague in the Czech Republic and is currently the leading institution for the certification of WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) treatment processes. Established in 2013, the organization has set itself the goal of optimizing the systems and processes used for the collection and treatment of WEEE in Europe. Certification is based on the established Weeelabex standards. These standards are recognized throughout the WEEE management sector and were compiled in a consultative process that involved all of the key European stakeholders (WEEE takeback systems, manufacturers, recyclers, environmental organizations, auditors, etc.).
The Weeelabex certification process provides a means of measuring how well the services offered by a recycling company conform with the requirements of the EU’s WEEE Directive, the corresponding national implementing regulations and the European standard EN 50625-1 adopted by Cenelec. The treatment of end-of-life refrigeration equipment is a special field within the WEEE-treatment sector and the services provided by demanufacturing and recycling companies are assessed against the benchmarks set out in the Cenelec standard EN 50625-2-3 in conjunction with the Technical Specifications CLC/TS 50625-3-4 (both from 2017). Weeelabex audits based on the EN 50625-1 standard have for a number of years been used in Greece to monitor and assess the treatment of waste electrical equipment, such as household appliances, computer display screens, etc.), and this has led to a significant improvement in treatment quality in this sector of the Greek waste management industry.
In contrast to waste management practices in many other European countries, the new fridge treatment standards (EN 50625-2-3 and CLC/TS 50625-3-4) have not yet been used to conduct recycling plant audits in Greece. And until recently, no company in Greece had ever subjected itself to a Weeelabex fridge treatment audit. According to the management team at HFR, the fact that the company is the first in Greece to have applied for and been awarded Weeelabex certification reflects the company’s longstanding commitment to quality in the fridge demanufacturing sector.
“We now know where we stand and have identified the few areas we in which we need to make improvements,” says Diogenis Vakontios and Ilias Margaritis, the managers at HFR who supervised the audit. “The Weeelabex certification procedure was the most thorough technical and administrative audit that our company has ever subjected itself to. During the audit, which lasted several days, two external auditors not only conducted a rigorous appraisal of the technical aspects of the fridge demanufacturing process, they also examined other areas, such as occupational health and safety, operating permits and licenses, waste management regulatory issues, including the storage and onward destinations of the secondary products generated during the fridge treatment process. In our opinion, no other sector-specific monitoring scheme compares with the Weeelabex certification system. We are proud to be the first company in Greece to have independently applied for Weeelabex testing and to have now received Weeelabex certification after our successful audit. As our company already holds the RAL quality mark, the award of the Weeelabex certification demonstrates once again the quality of our fridge demanufacturing services.”
The certificate is valid for two years. HFR will be applying to renew certification at the beginning of 2021. Companies that are awarded Weeelabex certification have demonstrated complete conformity with all of the requirements set out in the Cenelec standard EN 50625-2-3 (in particular, confirmation that over 90 per cent of refrigerant and blowing agents are recovered) and in the CLC/TS 50625-3-4 technical specifications. Weeelabex certification also confirms that a company achieves a very high recycling rate of over 85 per cent and recovery rates of 96 per cent for all of the material output streams from Step 1 and Step 2 processing. HFR goes Weeelabex demonstrates that the company is one of Europe’s leading demanufacturing businesses and that it can compete successfully in international markets while satisfying the most demanding environmental standards.
Source: Hellenic Fridge Recycling S.A.