The environmental problem that addresses the ReWeee Project is the environmental burden caused by Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). This problem is further aggravated due to the continued growth of the market and the shortening of the life cycle of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), resulting in the accelerated replacement of equipment, making WEEE a fast growing waste stream in the European market. It is estimated that about 65% of the EEE currently on the European market is separated from other household waste, but over one half of such quantity probably undergoes improper treatment and is exported illegally. The result of is the loss of valuable resources and the degradation of the environment. According to CWIT (Countering WEEE Illegal Trade summary report, 2015), it is estimated that in 2012 in Europe only 1/3 of all the EEE discarded, ended up in the authorized systems. The other went to unknown recipients or, even if separated from the rest of the household waste, underwent improper treatment or were exported to third countries, often illegally.
During 2012-2015, about four to ten appliances were collected and recycled on average per year in Greece. This figure, although still low, is slightly compared to the rest of Europe. In particular, EEE quantities managed by Appliances Recycling SA ranged between 37 000 tons in 2012 and 48 500 tons in 2015. In those years, the quantities placed on the market ranged between 110 000 tons in 2012 and 115 000 in 2015.
EEE components contain hazardous substances, causing serious risks when such wastes are disposed without first being depolluted or if not properly treated. However, even when WEEE is collected separately and recycled, hazardous substances pose a potential risk to health or the environment not treated using Best Available Techniques (BAT).