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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.

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