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.

Do not dispose of your electronic and electrical equipment without the assistance of a licenced operative

 

Since 2007 the onus has been placed on business owners and other stakeholders within a business to dispose of electrical and electronic equipment by way of a duly licenced operator, pursuant to the instructions and responsibilities laid down in the Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment legislation (WEEE). Any waste which falls into these categories are classed as hazardous waste, and the reason for this is that many of the components are made from or include elements of mercury, cadmium, bromine, lead arsenic and other nasties, all of which leach into the ground if equipment is placed in ordinary landfill.

Over the past century it is not known how many millions of tonnes of waste electrical equipment has ended up buried in landfill; however, given the exponential proliferation of electronic, electrical and mechanical equipment over the past seventy years or so, the tonnage looks likely to increase exponentially for many years into the future. Examples of equipment which falls into the category of hazardous waste and requires licenced disposal include but are not limited to:

  • 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 and other hand held devices
  • Batteries (vehicle and hand held device)
  • Food mixing equipment

The aforementioned list is by no means exhaustive but offers a taste of the many items which now have to be disposed of through a licenced operator and/or recycling company; indeed, failure on the part of a business to comply with the legislation can (and frequently does) end up in prosecutions, resulting in fines and costs levied as well as potential prison sentences for business owners and/or those responsible.

The responsibility is firmly placed upon the owner and/or operator of any business and/or commercial, public or charitable organisation to dispose of their waste responsibly and to ensure the individual, company and/or organisation tasked with said disposal has all the relevant licences required to effect safe and environmentally responsible disposal.

How to dispose of redundant electrical equipment safely

 

Protect the environment and dispose of redundant electrical equipment safely and responsibly; we are currently sitting on a time bomb and we don’t know when it is going to detonate and what the fallout will be for later generations. This time bomb is a legacy of the millions of tons of electrical and electronic equipment which has been dumped in landfill sites and covered over, out of sight, out of mind as they say.

Unfortunately in some areas of the world pollution caused by illegal and unlicenced dumping of electrical equipment and industrial equipment has severely polluted the local environment to the point where raised incidences of still birth, birth defects, cancer, liver and kidney failure and other health issues are a real problem. Many of these incidences are caused by the leaching of cadmium, mercury, bromine, arsenic and lead back into the ground and subsequently into the water table.

All of these toxins and heavy metals and more besides are essential elements which are required for the efficient functioning of modern electrical and electronic equipment; to get an understanding of how pervasive these toxins are in our everyday lives, a non exhaustive list is itemised below.

  • Mobile phones
  • Washing machines
  • Fridges
  • Laptops, computers, monitors and component parts
  • Car starter motors, alternators and other components
  • Hair dryers
  • Kettles and microwave ovens

As you can see the list of everyday items which fall within the framework of the WEEE is large although this list is not exhaustive; it is merely representative of the issues which face us if we do not take steps to eliminate the dangers which face us. Disposal of redundant equipment should be placed in the hands of a licenced operative or carrier; indeed, within the framework of WEEE business owners and CEOs have a duty of care to ensure that any equipment disposal is undertaken safely and responsibly, with severe penalties for non compliance with the regulations.

For peace of mind and of course as a measure of protection for the environment, Make the call today to a licenced operator and avoid the potential of fines being levied and possibly criminal action.

Current WEEE Legislation

 

The current WEEE legislation (Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment) which was added to the statute books in 2007 has been introduced to combat the exponential increase in redundant electrical and electronic equipment and eliminate as far as is reasonably practical disposal of same in landfill sites. Plastic shells and covers, steel and aluminium frames and components made from an assortment of heavy metals and toxic elements are present in virtually every piece of electrical and electronic equipment we use in the home and in business.

Arsenic, cadmium, bromine, lead and mercury are just a small selection of heavy metals and toxic elements which are used in modern manufacturing processes and are all essential elements required for the normal function of differing electrical equipment. Some of the components are known to contain carcinogens which are responsible, according to research, for inducing cancers in humans.

Dumping redundant equipment in landfill stores up potential toxic Armageddon; these heavy elements and toxic substances are known to leach back into the ground and subsequently into local water tables, the result is the food chain becomes contaminated. In some areas of the world (China and India) and specific geographic locations the local water table is poisoned and incidences of still birth, deformed infants, adult cancer rates and other health issues are all alarmingly above the globally accepted average for a particular region.

Some fifteen million tonnes of redundant electrical equipment from the EU alone is predicted by 2015 and this figure is expected to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future, given our reliance on electrical equipment as an element of our everyday lives. IPods, iPhones, hand held devices, laptops, computers and peripheral accessories and components. However, innocuous items such as hair dryers, cameras, DVD players and even the IT infrastructure in a building are all covered within the framework of WEEE.

Safeguard your business future and of course safeguard the environment at the same time. Dispose of any redundant electrical equipment safely and responsibly by engaging the services of a licenced carrier, licenced operative or licenced recycling centre and protect the future environment for our children and their children’s children.

How WEEE affects Business Owners

 

What is WEEE and how does it affect business owners and what are the penalties should WEEE be ignored? WEEE is the acronym of Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment and covers just about everything which uses electrical power to operate, and all of which is now classified as controlled industrial waste. The list is long but any one of the following is classed as controlled waste and must be disposed off through suitably licenced operators and/or recycling companies.

The list is not exhaustive, but some typical examples included within the scope of WEEE are as follows:

  • Mobile phones
  • Washing machines
  • Fridges
  • Laptops, computers, monitors and component parts
  • Car starter motors, alternators and other components
  • Hair dryers
  • Kettles and microwave ovens

The list as has been mentioned is not exhaustive, it is merely populated as an indicator of what redundant equipment is included in the scope of WEEE to enable you to consider where to look and what to look at when considering disposing of any equipment from the premises.

It is estimated that by 2015 some fifteen million tonnes of waste will require disposal just in the European Union alone; worldwide figures and statistics are not available at the time of writing although research is ongoing, but from the EU figures it is possible to see the issues which face all of us as a society.

The danger which is posed by discarded electrical and electronic waste in landfill is unknown as yet; however, the toxins and heavy elements which are necessary for manufacturing processes and which enable the equipment to function are many, not least arsenic, lead, bromine, cadmium and mercury as a few examples. These elements and toxins have been found to leach back into the environment, and in some areas of the world where there are no controls in place, issues with raised levels of still birth and birth defects are substantial.

Ensure your business doesn’t fall foul of the WEEE legislation and avoid heavy fines and possible criminal conviction by engaging the services of a fully licenced operator or recycling organisation to safely dispose of any redundant equipment which requires disposal.

Whatever business you are in you’re obligated by law to dispose of electrical and IT equipment by licenced operators

 

Whatever business you are involved in you’re obligated by law to dispose of electrical and IT equipment by licenced operators; to tackle the very serious issue of increasing numbers of redundant electrical equipment entering landfill sites and being lost forever, the Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment legislation (WEEE) was introduced in 2007. This legislation places a legal obligation on any commercial enterprise or not for profit organisation to ensure that any electrical equipment being discarded is done so by a licenced waste disposal operator and/or recycling operator.

The legislation strictly precludes the disposal of any electrical equipment in to landfill and where possible any equipment should be recycled. Electrical equipment contains many toxic substances and elements including but not limited to lead, mercury, cadmium, bromine and arsenic to mention just a few examples. Some six and a half million tonnes of electrical equipment which was dumped in landfill sites in the latest year for which there are figures available, and this figure is predicted to rise to some fifteen million tonnes by 2015. The legislation was enacted as a means to an end and a proactive solution for reducing these figures and for future protection of the environment.

Heavy metals and toxic waste have a nasty habit of leaching into ground water supplies and in areas of the world where there is little if any legislation or policing of toxic waste, serious issues regarding deformed infants at birth, increased cancer rates, cardio vascular issues and many other health related issues are being reported Indeed, not only are humans suffering but animal and bird life is severely disrupted as is the entire local food chain and environment.

Business owners and management teams have a duty of care to ensure any electrical waste generated is disposed of safely and securely; any hint of non compliance can and frequently does result in fines and other punishment being handed down by the courts. Ensure your compliance with the law and engage the services of a licenced operator for your electrical waste disposal and recycling issues and keep one step ahead of the legislation and help maintain a cleaner, greener environment for future generations.

Go green and dispose of your redundant IT equipment with confidence

 

Any piece of equipment which is used in the home or workplace and has as an element of its internal workings printed circuit boards, micro processor controls and similar control elements are all subject to Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment legislation (WEEE). This legislation was introduced onto the statute books in 2007 and has been put into place to encourage recycling of redundant electrical equipment and of course the safe and environmentally friendly disposal of all those gadgets, non essential and essential pieces of modern technology we are all told by advertising that we cannot do without and which are now surplus to requirements.

Why is recycling and safe disposal of electrical equipment essential?

Safe disposal of equipment which has onboard any of the aforementioned is an essential element in the control of pollution and the prevention of environmental damage, whether that damage is potentially to plant life, animal life or indeed human life. The accumulative effects of pollution can be seen in many areas of the world, much to the detriment of the local population, wildlife and landscape.
Printed circuit boards and other internal elements of electrical equipment contain heavy and toxic elements including but not limited to arsenic, bromine, cadmium and mercury; placed in landfill sites these elements and heavy metals will eventually leach into the ground with the potential of contaminating ground water supplies and if unchecked will filter through to animal life, plant life and at the end of the food chain human beings.

Okay, if this is an issue here can I take my electrical waste?

Business users are no longer permitted to take their waste to local authority drop off points and waste collection and recycling centres; however, business owners have a duty of care to ensure any electrical waste generated is disposed of safely and securely and non compliance leading to potential fines levied from subsequent prosecution by the environment agency. Environment Agency licensed carriers and brokers all of whom will undertake to dispose of electrical waste safely using licenced recycling facilities should be used at all times to facilitate safe disposal of any industrial and/or commercially redundant electrical equipment.

Photovoltaic – The Application of The Future

 

You’ve probably seen calculators with solar cells — devices that never need batteries and in some cases, don’t even have an off button. As long as there’s enough light, they seem to work forever. You may also have seen larger solar panels, perhaps on emergency road signs, call boxes, buoys and even in parking lots to power the lights.

Although these larger panels aren’t as common as solar-powered calculators, they’re out there and not that hard to spot if you know where to look. In fact, photovoltaics — which were once used almost exclusively in space, powering satellites’ electrical systems as far back as 1958 — are being used more and more in less exotic ways. The technology continues to pop up in new devices all the time, from sunglasses to electric vehicle charging stations.

The hope for a “solar revolution” has been floating around for decades — the idea that one day we’ll all use free electricity from the sun. This is a seductive promise, because on a bright, sunny day, the sun’s rays give off approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet’s surface. If we could collect all of that energy, we could easily power our homes and offices for free.

The solar cells that you see on calculators and satellites are also called photovoltaic (PV) cells, which as the name implies (photo meaning “light” and voltaic meaning “electricity”), convert sunlight directly into electricity. A module is a group of cells connected electrically and packaged into a frame (more commonly known as a solar panel), which can then be grouped into larger solar arrays, like the one operating at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is currently used most commonly. Basically, when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely.

PV cells also all have one or more electric field that acts to force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a certain direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off for external use, say, to power a calculator. This current, together with the cell’s voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce.

Why is Halloween called Halloween?

 

Straddling the line between Autumn and Winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Ancient Origins of Halloween
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

Today’s Halloween Traditions
The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Household Fuel Bills – Up Again!

 

Energy companies are gearing up to increase household fuel bills by removing the cheapest gas and electricity deals from the market.

Annual bills might rise by as much as £200 over the next year, according to one price comparison site.

The Bank of England stated in its recent inflation report that the UK would see a 15 per cent rise in domestic gas prices and 10 per cent rise in electricity tariffs between July and March 2012, driven by turmoil in the Middle East.

Energy companies have already moved to scrap the cheapest deals available. Scottish Power and Eon both removed the best online deals available at the start of May, increasing the lowest rate available by slightly more than £50. The cheapest deals were about £900 at the start of the year but are now about £950.

The report followed an announcement from Centrica, owner of British Gas, that wholesale energy costs this winter would increase 25 per cent compared with the previous year. Scottish Power has also said that suppliers would probably have to raise prices in the coming months.

All providers pushed up prices for gas and electricity following the coldest winter in 100 years last year. Although there have since been tweaks to some offers, prices have continued to rise.

According to one charity, the cost of energy bills has become the fastest-growing financial problem for households. The National Debtline said that thousands of people were being pushed into debt by rising utility costs.

Britain must get used to price rises on fuel bills or face blackouts, Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, warned yesterday. Announcing a major shake-up of the power supply market, he insisted that increases in fuel bills would still be less than the rises predicted if the country did not invest in low carbon energy and relied on fossil fuels instead.

The reforms would help secure the £110 billion investment needed to replace the quarter of UK power stations which were set to close in the next decade, Mr Huhne added.

“We have 25 years of dithering on energy investment and now decision day is coming,” he said. “You can have investment or you can have blackouts. What do you want?”

The shake-up will see companies given long-term contracts guaranteeing a stable price for electricity from low-carbon sources, such as nuclear and renewables.

Mr Huhne said the deals would give investors the certainty needed to invest in power sources with high up-front costs — such as nuclear reactors and offshore wind farms — reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels and the impact on consumers of rising gas and oil prices.