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E-Waste – How Do You Dispose Of Yours?

There are millions of obsolete electronic items discarded every year as consumers and businesses change their electronic equipment so rapidly in the process of keeping up with technological advances. Rather than allow this never ending stream of e-waste, which contains a variety of toxic chemicals to build up in our landfills, it should be handled and disposed of in a responsible way.

WHAT IS E-WASTE?

This term describes any type of waste that contains electrically powered components. This could include any of the following:

  • Household Appliances & Consumer Electronics
  • Information Technology Equipment
  • Electric and Electronic Tools
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Sports & Recreational Equipment
  • Medical Equipment

These items contain a variety of different valuable materials which can be recycled and recovered, but some of the materials contained in electronic items can also be hazardous, therefore e – waste requires specialist handling and recycling methods.

WASTE ELECTRICAL and ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT (WEEE)

Back in 2007, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations came into force with the aim of:

  • Reducing the quantity of electrical and electronic equipment being produced. (Under the regulations, producers are expected to fund the cost of recycling when their products become obsolete).
  • Reducing the quantity of e-waste in landfill sites.
  • Encouraging people to reuse, recycle and recover e-waste.
  • Improving the environmental performance of companies involved in the manufacture and supply of electrical and electronic equipment.

The WEEE regulations enforce the correct disposal, collection, recycling and treatment of e-waste.

WHICH BUSINESSES DO THE WEEE REGULATIONS APPLY TO?

These regulations actually apply to most businesses!

Any business involved with Electrical or Electronic Equipment (EEE), in any of the following ways:

  • Manufacture
  • Sale
  • Import
  • Rebranding
  • Redistribution

In addition, any business involved with Waste Electrical or Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in any of the following ways:

  • Disposal
  • Storage
  • Treatment
  • Dismantling
  • Recycling
  • Repair
  • Refurbishment

As you can see from the lists above, at some point, all businesses will fall under the umbrella of the WEEE regulations, albeit at varying degrees!

PRECIOUS METALS

There are high levels of precious metals found in many electrical components, electrical connectors and printed circuit boards and when e-waste is recycled in an environmentally sound way, these precious metals can be extracted for reuse.

Precious metals found in e-waste include:

  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Silver
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium

ELECTRONIC WASTE DISPOSAL SERVICES

In order to comply with stringent environmental legislation in the UK, look for a reputable electronic waste disposal service operating in your local area to fulfil your needs. A specialised service provider will be able to advise you about the most cost effective solutions for disposal of your e-waste and ensure that any electronic equipment containing sensitive data is handled professionally and securely.

FASTEST GROWING WASTE STREAM

With up to 50 million metric tons of e-waste being disposed of annually worldwide, e-waste is by far the fastest growing waste stream. A large percentage of this waste could be reused elsewhere, or properly recycled, allowing our valuable resources to be recovered. How will you dispose of yours?

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