Evaluation of the electrical and electronic equipment waste (WEEE) generation in a private university

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is an expression used to refer to several pieces of equipment that are no longer valuable for their owners. This study evaluated the WEEE generation in a private higher education institution, located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In this study, we used data from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) available in the university information system, which amounted 51.066 items during 17 years. The main WEEE generated by the institution was Information technology (IT) and telecommunications equipment (48.2%), followed by large household appliances (14.4%), monitoring and control instruments (13.3%), electrical and electronic tools (10.9%) and consumer equipment (9.8%). Over 414 EEE classes were identified in the institution, although, except for monitoring and control instruments, the 2 main EEEs in each class correspond to at least 50% of its categories. In addition, it was noticed that the majority of WEEE was generated by the university administration (29.3%), followed by the computer classrooms (17.3%). These two areas feature low life EEEs, while other areas like Biology and Exact Sciences, due to the high number of analytics equipment used, have EEEs with longer life cycle, resulting in smaller waste generation. All these characteristics result in a great complexity in WEEE management in higher education institutions, mostly due to the considerable diversity, increasing the recycling complexity.</p><p></p>