You may keep coming across the phrase WEEE or keep seeing the small wheelie bin symbol with a cross through it on your electrical products?
So what does it all mean & what is WEEE?
WEEE stands for Waste Electronic & Electric Equipment which under UK law is now classed as a controlled waste.
The government introduced the WEEE directive into UK law in 2007, this is basically aimed at encouraging the reuse and recycling of electrical equipment and the materials used to manufacture such items.
Why is the important?
With every household & business using more & more electrical products by the day it is estimated that 6.5 million tonnes of electric waste was produced by EU member in one year alone. By 2015 this is set to become an incredible 15 million tonnes per year. Currently 75% of waste electrical goods end up in landfill where lead and other toxins (arsenic, bromine, cadmium, mercury, etc) can cause soil and water contamination.
Many materials used in electronic products can be reprocessed and reused in many ways, various kinds of metals, plastics, batteries and even circuit boards have precious components & can be used time and time again. Why is this important, because the planet only has a limited resource of certain materials, using them again helps sustainability of our environment that we all live in.
Where can I take my electrical waste?
All local authorities now have dedicated electrical skips or bins at their recycling sites where household users are encouraged to take their items, ranging from Fridges to your old electric toothbrush. Retailers are now also obliged to advise or provide WEEE take back schemes for recently purchased items.
For businesses, unfortunately the local recycling centre is not an option as WEEE from business is classed as non domestic trade waste.. Businesses also have a duty of care to ensure there electrical waste is disposed of in the correct manner or face penalties from the environment agency.
Business users of electrical products can approach licensed waste carriers or brokers to remove redundant equipment from their offices, however they also need to make sure that their waste is being taken to appropriate, licensed recycling facilities, therefore preventing illegal dumping or exporting of electrical waste .