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Jan Vrba: we are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle electronics

Ten years ago, with the birth of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) recycling and the non-profit organization, stood ASEKOL. Thanks to their innovative approach, Jan Vrba and his team from ASEKOL succeeded in flooding the Czech Republic with red containers and teaching Czech citizens to recycle not only large electronic appliances but also minor ones. “ In August 2015, when the adjusted law regarding take-back and recycling of EEE became valid on the basis of European regulations, Czechs were recycling a little more than 2kg of EEE per person per year. Today it is 5kg of returned obsolete EEE per person per year, which means that we surpass the mandatory European standards by a quarter,” says Jan Vrba, the Chairman of the Board of the non-profit organization ASEKOL. Czech citizens therefore managed to double the volume of recycled appliances per individual within ten years. They belong to the leaders of Central and Eastern Europe and the amount of recycled obsolete EEE is equivalent to that of the western European states.

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The Crown per Kilo project is starting

The Crown per Kilo project is starting in March. This is a joint activity of the ASEKOL compliance scheme for e-waste take-back and the Czech National Disability Council (CNDC). For each kilogram of old e-waste people place into red containers from 1 March until the end of the year, the Rovná šance (Equal Chance) Endowment Fund, managed by the CNDC, will receive one crown. The project endeavours to support people with disabilities in acquiring employment.

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Is there interest in a truly competitive environment in waste management?

The concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) was first proposed in Sweden in 1990 by Professor Thomas Lindhqvist, a specialist in environmental issues at Lund University. Extended producer responsibility was defined as a strategy for products to have as little negative effect on the environment as possible by extending producers’ responsibility across products’ entire life cycles, and in particular to include take-back, recycling and final disposal of such products. The EPR strategy gradually became a part of EU legislation, and from there it spread to all member states. Today, it is one of the main pillars of waste management within the EU.

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