• FAQ: Recycling Medium-Voltage Equipment — Part 2

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Q: What can Schneider do to recycle my medium-voltage equipment?

A: Schneider Electric puts a complete end-of-life treatment system with high environmental value at your service to ensure your full compliance with the legal and statutory regulations.

Q: Does your offer apply only to medium-voltage equipment manufactured by Schneider Electric?

A: This offer applies to all medium-voltage equipment, whatever its brand or country of manufacture.

Q: What is the service life of medium-voltage equipment?

A: The service life of medium-voltage equipment greatly depends on its conditions of use and on the environment in which it was used.

Schneider Electric equipment is designed to last approximately 30 years, provided that maintenance is carried out on a regular basis.

Q: Who recycles my equipment?

A: Schneider Electric takes care of the entire treatment process. Schneider Electric operators are duly trained and certified in this respect.

Q: How is equipment recycled?

A: The equipment is first collected from the customer’s site and delivered to a Schneider Electric Centre, where it is dismantled. The various ferrous metals (scrap iron, sheet metal, etc.) and non-ferrous metals (copper, aluminium, etc.) are separated and sent to appropriate recycling centres.

The enclosure containing the SF6 gas is evacuated at up to a residual pressure of less than 20 mbar in conformance with the IEC 62271-4 standard, using special equipment. The gas is bottled before being sent to a gas specialist.

If the equipment has an epoxy enclosure, this is crushed for recovery purposes.

Q: Where is my equipment recycled?

A: Medium-voltage equipment is recycled in a dedicated Schneider Electric Centre.

In order to reduce the CO2 impact associated with transporting the equipment, it is sent to the nearest service centre for dismantling. The enclosures containing the SF6 are then gathered together for the gas to be evacuated and bottled.

Q: Which documents will I receive to prove that I have really recycled the equipment?

A: A collection certificate is sent within a month of the equipment being collected. In the following three months, a certificate of destruction is sent when the recycling has been completed.

Q: How long does it take to recycle my equipment?

A: The recycling time for medium-voltage equipment varies according to the volumes to be treated. It will take approximately three months from receipt of the collection certificate.

Q: Why should I choose Schneider Electric to recycle my equipment?
A: Within the framework of its environmental charter, Schneider Electric offers its customers a seamless turnkey solution. With this service offer, Schneider Electric ensures that its customers fully comply with the regulations and gives them complete peace of mind.
Thanks to its intimate knowledge of the products to be recycled, SF6 recovery certification, and excellent risk control, Schneider Electric is the best partner for recycling your medium-voltage equipment.
Schneider Electric stands out from its competitors through:
  • Prior identification of the substances to be processed
  • Optimisation of the dismantling and treatment processes
  • Excellent risk control for operators and for the environment
With Schneider Electric, you will quickly be compliant with the statutory and legal regulations.
Q: What percentage of medium-voltage equipment can be recycled?
A: Almost 98% of Schneider Electric equipment can be recycled.
Q: What happens to the SF6 gas after it is recovered?
A: There are several options according to the quality of the recovered SF6 and the SF6 regeneration possibilities existing in your country. In most cases it is sent to a recycling centre, where it is regenerated by passing continuously through various special filters. If this is not possible, it is sent to a destruction centre for incineration.
Q: Is the cost of reprocessing the equipment included in the price of the equipment?
A: No, medium-voltage equipment does not come within the scope of the WEEE decree. The owner of the switchgear is therefore responsible for processing it at the end of its life cycle.
Q: How much will this cost?
A: Prices vary according to quantities and depend on the type of equipment. If the equipment is replaced, the end-of-life treatment can be combined with the global commercial proposal. If the equipment is simply returned for destruction, the cost will have to be calculated.
Q: Am I entitled to a price reduction when materials are reprocessed?
A: The price of this offer is optimised and already takes account of metal recycling.
Q: Can the carbon credits be recovered?
A: In theory, it is possible to recover carbon credits. In practice, this is very difficult to implement, in view of the costs of establishing a methodology recognised by the legislator and the set-up fees. The volumes of gas should be much higher by far than those usually recovered from a medium-voltage facility consisting of several dozen cubicles.

For guidance on safe, legal methods for disposing of and recycling MV and HV equipment, read the Schneider Electric white paper SF6 End-of-life Recycling for Medium and High Voltage (MV & HV) Equipment
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