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.

 

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 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.

How does one dispose of redundant electrical and electronic equipment?

 

How does one dispose of redundant electrical and electronic equipment without endangering the environment or adding to the potential of pollution for future generations? Simple; engage the services of a licenced operative or carrier and ensure that equipment is disposed of in accordance with the framework of WEEE. WEEE is the acronym of Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment which classifies all electronic and electrical equipment as controlled waste, thereby making it an illegal act to dump such equipment into landfill.

In most areas of the country there isn’t a provision made for businesses to dispose of their redundant equipment; certainly, local authorities do not allow the disposal of controlled equipment from businesses through their own waste management systems. The responsibility of a business owner and/or CEO of a company to dispose of controlled waste means that if the law isn’t complied with, the potential for large fines being levied and perhaps a resulting criminal record are real possibilities.

The legislation was put in place to combat the growing tonnage of waste which is estimated to exceed fifteen million tonnes in 2015 from EU countries alone, and to combat the increasing levels of cadmium, lead, arsenic, bromine and mercury in the environment.

These elements and toxins are all a necessary part of the manufacturing processes and many are essential for efficient functioning of modern electronic equipment. These toxins and heavy metals leach back into the environment over time and at present, no-one has any idea about the potential time bomb which is a legacy of previous unlicenced dumping of said equipment over many years – only time will tell.

What we can do is reduce the amount of non biodegradable waste ending up in landfill and making provision for a cleaner environment in the future rather than leaving the status quo. Taking steps to dispose of controlled waste starts with a phone call or email to a licenced operator or recycling company. Safe disposal, responsible disposal and of course mitigating the future risk potential of the danger posed by unlicenced dumping of controlled waste is the responsibility of everyone.

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.

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.

More About What WEEE is and What to Be Careful Of

 

WEEE is the acronym of Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment which is the legislation which was introduced back in 2007 into UK law and is designed to eliminate as far as is reasonably practical any increases in redundant electrical and electronic equipment being disposed of in landfill sites. In addition to this it places a duty of care upon every business owner or CEO to ensure that redundant electrical and electronic equipment is disposed of safely and by a duly licenced operator.

It is estimated that by 2015 some fifteen million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste will require disposing of, and this figure is projected to rise year on year certainly for the foreseeable future given the current level of technological development. It is estimated that some three quarters (seventy five percent) of this type of waste ends up landfill; the potential future damage this may cause is a time bomb waiting to explode, and no-one knows what the explosive yield will be.

Modern electronic equipment which includes but is not limited to laptops, monitors screens, TVs, mobile phones, other hand held devices as well as domestic appliances and even hair straighteners are all classified under the WEEE regulations and contain some of the deadliest toxins and elements known to man.

Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and bromine are just a small selection of the nasties which are used and are essential elements in the manufacture of modern electrical equipment; gold, silver, platinum and palladium are precious metals which are also used and although these are not toxic, once they are lost in landfill they can never be recovered. The heavy toxic elements and components slowly leach into the ground and subsequently into any ground water reservoirs and water tables, and from there slowly but surely leach into the food chain, of which we are at the top.

Business users are especially open to issues with unlicensed operators; it is essential that any company you choose to dispose of your electrical and electronic waste is fully licenced and can show their licencing credentials and explain exactly how they will dispose of any waste generated by your company.