What is the Scope of WEEE

 

Contained within the written of the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) legislation is an exhaustive list of everyday equipment, all of which is now classified as hazardous waste. With insufficient copy space to include the entire list, contained in the list below is an indication of the scope of the legislation, and what now has to be disposed of by a licenced operator.

• Televisions, digital TV decoders, video and DVD players, overhead projectors
• Computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones, MP3 players, camcorders
• Fan heaters, air conditioning units, batteries and power capacitors

The licenced operator has to hold relevant licences which have been issued by the Environment Agency; in addition, any equipment which has data storage capacity is controlled by the Data Protection Act has to be disposed of by a carrier or recycler holding licences issued by the Data Commissioner’s Office.

As well as ninety nine percent of all items of electrical and electronic equipment having combinations of arsenic, bromine, cadmium, lead and mercury as elements of component part manufacture, many items also store data too. Double jeopardy, especially for owners of said equipment when it comes to the issue of safe, ethical, secure and practical disposal of the aforementioned equipment.

The legislation was enacted as a response to the mountain of redundant electrical and electronic equipment, a mountain which is growing exponentially year on year. By 2015 it is estimated the European Union alone will generate some 15 million tonnes and that figure is expected to carry on increasing year on year, at least for the foreseeable future.

By placing the emphasis and responsibility of controlled disposal on the shoulders of business owners and/or asset managers, the tide is beginning to turn. With increasing tonnage year on year now being recycled thereby decreasing the tonnage which is otherwise disposed of, everyone is being made to do their bit in helping protect the environment form potential damage.

To ensure that your business fully complies with all elements of the WEEE legislation, contact the team at Dynamic Asset Recovery today; secure, safe and ethical disposal is guaranteed and collection can be arranged from any location in the UK.

Specific Items covered by WEEE

 

The items which are contained in the following list, although not claiming to be an exhaustive list are now classified as hazardous waste, therefore licenced handling, carriage and disposal is required as laid down in the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) legislation.

  • Televisions, digital TV decoders, video and DVD players
  • Computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones,
  • Blackberries and other handheld devices
  • Mobile phones

The legislation was introduced in 2007 as a method of tackling the year on year exponential increase in the numbers of electrical and electronic equipment which was being disposed of, and although there was a voluntary code for ethical and safe disposal, it was not enforceable by law. The legislation places a duty of care on all owners and custodians of business entities and commercial enterprises to manage and monitor the entire lifecycle of any equipment which is operated by AC and/or DC power.

Business owners and asset managers are required to keep records of acquisition, deployment, use and disposal of said equipment; disposal has to be by way of an orgainsation and/or company licenced by the Environment Agency. In addition, any carrier, operator and/or recycler disposing of equipment with an element of data storage has also to hold relevant licences issued by the Data Commissioner’s Office in order to comply with the Data Protection Act.

The reason for the legislation was to make practical provision for the disposal of toxic substances and heavy elements including but not limited to arsenic, bromine, cadmium, lead and mercury all of which are used in the manufacture of electrical component parts. The casings of monitors, computers, PC tablets and laptops in addition to the glass screens and metal frames where applicable are all recyclable.

Indeed, some ninety to ninety five percent of every piece of electrical and electronic equipment is recyclable; therefore, the pressure on the environment and the potential for catastrophic pollution is being reduced exponentially year on year.

Undertaking safe and ethical disposal by way of a licenced operator for safe, secure and ethical disposal of any redundant and/or surplus electronic and electrical equipment, contact Data Asset Recovery as the essential link in your WEEE disposal chain.

 

What is the current UK WEEE Legislation?

 

Introduced into UK legislation in 2007 the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE), the regulations have been successful in tidying up the ambiguity surrounding the issue of hazardous and toxic materials which are elements of the component parts of electronic equipment. The items contained in the following list are now all classed as hazardous waste, and as such are required to be disposed of by licenced operators and recyclers.

  • Televisions, digital TV decoders, video and DVD players, overhead projectors
  • Computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones, MP3 players, camcorders
  • Batteries, (vehicle and hand held device)
  • Fan heaters and air conditioning units
  • Microwave ovens, kettles, food processors etc

It is by no means an exhaustive list and is merely in place as an example of items which are used in the workplace, and which business owners and asset managers are required to maintain records of in asset registers. These typical items of equipment along with many other examples all contain elements such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, bromine and lead; dumped in landfill prior to the introduction of the legislation, the potential of leaching back into the environment was a real and present danger.

Any equipment which is disposed of either as redundant, damaged or beyond repair has to be by way of a licenced operator, a company or organisation which holds licences issued by the Environment Agency. In addition, if any equipment has data storage capacity the disposal agency or operator has to hold a licence granted by the Data Commissioners office. The operators in question have to prove, prior to obtaining their licences that the staff is suitably trained in hazardous waste collection, transport and disposal methods.

The regulations are helping in no small way to defuse the ticking time bomb of the increasing tonnage of waste electronic equipment which is rising exponentially year on year. To ensure your business fully complies with all elements of the WEEE legislation in the disposal of redundant electronic and/or electrical equipment, consult Dynamic Asset Recovery today; secure, safe and ethical disposal is guaranteed and collection can be arranged from any location in the UK.

 

The changes introduced by the WEEE

 

The introduction of WEEE, that is to say the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment legislation which came into effect in 2007 brought about a sea change in the way in which electronic and electrical equipment was classified, as well as its management and subsequent disposal by industry. Within the framework of the legislation electrical and electronic equipment is now classified as hazardous waste; anything which appears in the following list now has to be safely, securely and ethically disposed of by operators and recyclers, all of whom have relevant licenses issued by the Environment Agency.

  • Mobile phones and other hand held comms devices
  • Computers, laptops and tablets
  • Monitors and other viewing devices
  • Photocopiers, fax machines and printers

Although the list isn’t exhaustive, the robust guidelines which cover the collection, transport and subsequent disposal are fully prescribed; any company which doesn’t comply with the legislation is open to potential criminal prosecution and huge fines being levied.

Ninety nine percent of all electrical and electronic equipment manufactured contains varying amounts and combinations of lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and bromine to mention just a few examples; the potential for damage to the environment over time was plain for all to see, hence the introduction of WEEE to prevent the continuing dumping of said equipment into landfill sites.

Moreover, any equipment which has the potential for storage and dissemination of data such as disk drives, flash and/or RAM memory modules and other such devices, has to be disposed of by an operator duly licenced by the Data Commissioner’s Office. The entire life cycle of every piece of equipment used in the workplace has to be recorded, along with the details of the disposal agency, transporting agent and/or recycler.

If you only have small numbers of equipment coming redundant at intermittent intervals, it is not possible to efficiently introduce your own in house team of specialists. The legislation is wide ranging and if not complied with fully can lead to fines and a potential criminal record. To ensure all your electrical and electronic equipment is disposed of safely, securely and ethically contact Dynamic Asset Recovery today and keep yourself and the business legal.

 

The Background of the WEEE

 

Enacted in 2007 the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) legislation is a legal framework which formaises the disposal of electronic and electrical equipment, and is especially loaded against business and industry. Consumers buying their new mobile phones, laptops, computers, TVs and other personal electronic and electrical items can opt for the recycling process which the retailer has to provide by law, as an element of the WEEE regulations by way of ridding themselves of their old, redundant or no longer fashionable equipment.

Unfortunately for business owners and delegated responsible persons within the business, the buck stops with you. Businesses are the link in the chain where the responsibility rests with the safe, secure and ethical disposal of said equipment, all of which is now classed as hazardous waste and has to be disposed of by licenced operators.

The introduction of WEEE legislation is as a legal framework for combating the increasing numbers of electronic equipment which came up for disposal, and which was prior to 2007 able to be dumped in ordinary landfill sites. It has been estimated that by 2015 the European Union alone will be responsible for generating some fifteen million tonnes of electronic equipment waste, with the figure projected to rise year on year exponentially after this date and certainly for the foreseeable future.

Every item of electronic and electrical equipment in use has varying amounts and combinations of lead, arsenic, bromine, mercury other nasties which are essential for the premium operation and efficiency of modern electronic equipment. Over ninety percent of the entire component pieces are recyclable, which includes the plastic casings, glass screens and electrical motors and cooling fans.

Disposal of electronic equipment is a minefield for the unwary and unprepared; if you fall foul of the legal aspect of the lifecycle management of the potential hazardous waste in your care, you may be liable to fines and potential criminal prosecution. To keep the entire issue legal, and to ensure the safe, secure and ethical disposal of ANY electronic equipment in your care, contact Data Asset Recovery today for complete peace of mind.

Why the Waste and Electrical Equipment Legislation is so Important

 

Introduced in 2007 the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) legislation is designed as a framework by which industry and commerce can formally dispose of the millions of tonnes of which is generated every year across the European Union, of which a large proportion originates in the UK. The framework now places a duty of care on owners of businesses and/or designated personnel to keep a record of each single item of electrical and/or electronic equipment used either on or off site for its entire lifecycles.

The list is long and quite extensive, but to simplify things the following items are typical of those items which, in accordance with the legislation are now classed as hazardous waste:

  • Televisions, digital TV decoders, video and DVD players, overhead projectors
  • Computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones, MP3 players, camcorders
  • Batteries, (vehicle and hand held device)
  • Fan heaters and air conditioning units
  • Microwave ovens, kettles, food processors etc

Typical office equipment such as computers, laptops and other similar devices also require specific handling, of which we shall mention later. Virtually every item of electronic or electrical equipment contains varying amounts of toxic substances such as cadmium, arsenic, bromine and lead among others, all of which are used in the manufacture of electronic components ending up in landfill, with the potential of leaching back into the environment with future potential catastrophic results.

To further complicate matters any equipment which has a CPU, hard drive, RAM, flash memory or indeed any other method of storing data for later retrieval and/or dissemination is subject to the Data protection Act. To safely and legally dispose of equipment which has the potential for data storage, not only should the disposal agent have a licence granted by the Environment Agency, the operator will also require a licence granted by the Data Commissioner’s Office.

Ensure your business fully complies with all elements of the WEEE legislation in the disposal of redundant electronic and/or electrical equipment by consulting with Dynamic Asset Recovery today; secure, safe and ethical disposal is guaranteed and collection can be arranged from any location in the UK.

What is WEEE and what do you have to do to comply with the framework of the legislation?

 

The Waste & Electronic Equipment legislation, or to apply its acronym of WEEE was instigated in 2007 and places emphasis on the controlled disposal of all and any electrical and/or electronic equipment, and lays down a framework within which business owners and licenced disposal carriers and recyclers have to operate. Electrical and electronic equipment is now classed as hazardous waste, given the cocktail of chemical, heavy metal and toxic substances used in the manufacture of everyday items and include but is not limited to the following:

  • Televisions, digital TV decoders, video and DVD players, overhead projectors
  • Computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones, MP3 players, camcorders
  • Batteries, (vehicle and hand held device) fan heaters and air conditioning units

If you give careful thought to this there are probably hundreds of items I haven’t mentioned here, and yet all of the items you may be thinking of while reading this are classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of accordingly. Office equipment such as computers, laptops, mobile phones and the like are typically replaced every year or two as new technologies supersedes older, out of date equipment.

It is estimated that in the EU alone some fifteen million tonnes of electronic office waste will require disposal in 2015, rising exponentially year on year thereafter as our reliance on electronic and digital equipment increases. Improving the sustainability of the electronics industry and reducing as much waste as possible by recycling as much as possible, not only are we protecting the environment in the present, but also for future generations to come.

The legislation places the emphasis on business owners and/or a delegated representative or employee to ensure the safe, responsible disposal of electronic equipment by a licenced carrier or recycler. Removing and responsibly disposing of electrical waste is best dealt with by placing the burden onto a specialist licenced waste disposal, waste carrier and/or recycling company. Insist on seeing the relevant licence of any potential carrier or recycling agent; by doing this you will be protecting yourself and the business from potential prosecution.

What provision has been made in your business for the safe disposal of hazardous waste?

 

The definition of hazardous waste is a complex one, but for the benefit of anyone who is unsure what is covered within the framework of The Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment legislation (WEEE), it is basically anything which is electrically operated either by battery, mains, AC or DC current. Consider your workplace and look around in the offices, warehouse, garage, loading bay and reception areas; mobile phones, computers, printers, laptops and other hand held devices as well as those pieces of equipment which may be in the workplace as well as the home are all classed as hazardous waste.

Washing machines, tumble driers, cookers and microwaves are all classed as hazardous waste for the benefit of WEEE, and by way of disposal are required to be disposed of through a licensed operative and/or recycling plant. This is due to many of the components either being made from or has elements of their manufacture which include but are not limited to mercury, lead, cadmium, bromine and arsenic as a few examples. In the minute quantities and in normal day to day operation they are not harmful, providing the equipment is used as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

The problems arise when these pieces of equipment are disposed of and where in the past they would have been placed in landfill sites; the subsequent leaching of these heavy metals and toxic substances into the groundwater tables eventually find their way back into the food chain which has humans at the top.

In many places in the world (China and India in particular) there are locations where contamination of the water table and the surrounding local environment is so bad that birth defects, cancer and other illnesses known to be connected to heavy metal and toxic poisoning are way above the normally expected levels.

Our lives today are ruled by electronic equipment, so much so that evidence points to exponential increase in potentially toxic devices increasing year on year for at least the foreseeable future. Make sure your hazardous waste policy is up to date and that any provisions you make are with a registered and licenced hazardous waste disposal operative or recycling organisation.

Reduce waste, recycle and dispose of your industrial waste responsibly

 

For every piece of electrical and/or electronic equipment which is disposed of in a landfill site (which is illegal by the way) the potential for environmental damage increases exponentially; most modern electrical and electronic equipment has as an element of its construction and component parts toxic substances and heavy elements. Arsenic, cadmium, mercury, bromine and lead are just a few examples of these extremely toxic and potentially poisonous materials which, if dumped into landfill sites will over time leach back into the ground with the potential of contaminating ground water tables and subsequently find their way into the food chain.

The plastic casings of TVs, mobile phones, laptops and computers just to mention a few examples take thousands of years to break down; as they break down the toxic mix percolates down into the soil and is then over time absorbed into the local environment; One has to remember; plastics and manmade fibres in the main are byproducts of crude oil.

Ninety nine percent of the components, frame and casings of modern electrical and electronic equipment is recyclable; even the smallest batteries suitable for powering mobile phones and MP3 players, to the heavy duty batteries used on cars, lorries and heavy machinery are able to be recycled and the materials reused.

He Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment legislation (WEEE) which was introduced onto the statute books in 2007 presents a framework of for the licenced disposal of potential toxic waste; in effect, as of 2007 all electrical and electronic equipment is considered to be hazardous waste, and is required to be disposed of responsibly through a network of licenced operators and recycling plants.

The onus has been placed on business owners to ensure any arrangements made for the disposal of any electrical, electronic and/or other waste considered a hazard to the environment is through licenced channels. Reduce waste, protect the environment and stay legal; only use licenced operators to dispose of industrial electrical equipment and one which can prove their qualifications and licencing credentials.

As a business owner, are you aware your obligations for the safe disposal of electrical and IT equipment according to WEEE?

 

Regardless of whether your business is involved in the manufacture and supply of double glazing, an engineering oriented business or warehousing, the WEEE legislation makes it a criminal offence for ANY business to dispose of electrical and electronic equipment without a licence. In point of fact, disposal of any such equipment through a channel other than a licenced operator or recycling plant will leave you, the business owner liable to prosecution, levied fines and potential imprisonment.

The Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment legislation (WEEE) was introduced in 2007 to combat the ever increasing number of portable and fixed electrical and electronic equipment, estimated to be some fifteen million tonnes a year by 2015 and increasing exponentially year on year, being dumped in landfill. Most modern equipment contains cadmium, bromine, arsenic, mercury and lead as elements of their construction and manufacture including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Televisions, digital TV decoders, video and DVD players
  • Cookers, fridges, washing machines and tumble dryers
  • Hair straighteners, curling tongs and hair dryers
  • Computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones, Blackberries and other handheld devices
  • Batteries (vehicle and hand held device)

Disposal of equipment from these categories into landfill created an ongoing potential time bomb of environmental catastrophe should the accumulation of toxic materials leach back into the environment and the water table. To prevent this explosive situation becoming reality, the legislation requires any business owner or person responsible for disposal of aforementioned equipment to ascertain the disposal agent or recycling company has the required and necessary licencing to transport and/ or dispose of and recycle.

Gone are the days (and they were many) when anything could be tipped into landfill; the environment has to be protected, but without legislation and incentives in place it was always an uphill struggle to get stakeholders in the environment (all of us) to dispose of waste responsibly.

Dispose of your hazardous waste responsibly, effectively and in a prescribed manner by engaging the services of a duly licenced operator and/or recycling business, for the sake of the environment and for the benefit of future generations.