SERTY was founded in 2000 to organise the recycling of waste equipment. The first members joined the association in 2001.
SERTY was the first producer association to start a nationwide collection in 1 August 2005. It was later joined by four other producer associations in the field, and together they have maintained the SER-kierrätys collection points since 2013.
During the first years, the collected waste equipment amounted to approximately 4 kilogrammes per inhabitant. Last year, Finns brought 50,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment to the official collection points, which amounts to 10 kilogrammes per inhabitant. This equals to about 5,000 lorry loads: driven one after another, the queue of lorries would stretch across the whole country, from Hanko to Utsjoki.
The goal is to recover all waste equipment. At the moment, it is estimated that almost half of all waste equipment still ends up somewhere else than at the official recycling points.
When the WEE collection points were introduced, there were less than 100 of them. Now there are more than 400 collection points, of which some are located in city centres. The contact information of the regional collection points can be found at www.kierratys.info.
The collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment in shops began in 2013, which introduced almost 2,000 new collection points. The largest shops accept small devices, such as lamps, curlers, electric shavers or small kitchen appliances, without an obligation to purchase anything. Larger electrical appliances can be left at the shop, when buying a new similar product.
Compared to the rest of Europe, Finns are exemplary recyclers, but a portion of the waste equipment still ends up incorrectly in metal waste collection or even in mixed household waste, which hinders waste disposal. Illegal heaps of waste dumped into the environment often contain waste equipment, which could have been taken to a collection point free of charge. In particular, phones and various electrical tools often remain forgotten in the drawers of homes.
The metals, glass and plastics contained by waste equipment can be reused in manufacturing new products. For example, 99 percent of the materials of a laptop can be recycled. The devices brought to regional collection points or shops are mainly processed in Finland. According to legislation, producer associations, together with their operators, are responsible for the transport, processing and recycling of the materials.