WEEE waste is any type of electronic waste that falls under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (2003/2007) for the safe disposal and recycling of used electronic goods.
Both business and household devices are covered by the same scheme, but businesses must pay the costs of WEEE disposal. Domestic users may return their broken, unwanted, or outdated electronic items to the manufacturer for recycling free of charge.
By UK and EU law, any electronic waste carrying the distinctive WEEE 'Crossed Bin' logo must be recycled or salvaged by professionals trained in WEEE recycling techniques. Any machine which contains complex, pre-moulded circuit boards, processors, memory, or a hard drive can qualify for WEEE disposal. Deliberately fly-tipping or landfilling WEEE waste carries significant legal penalties, including fines and jail sentences.
When it comes to IT, the WEEE directive covers desktop computers, printers, scanners, monitors, mice and keyboards, games consoles, mobile phones, landline phones, and network routers. Batteries, wiring, and cables are also covered by WEEE specifications. Older analogue electronic equipment with circuitry containing dangerous chemicals and rare metals may also qualify for the scheme.
Why Does The WEEE Directive Exist?
The WEEE directive exists for three main reasons:
1) To reduce the amount of dangerous landfill waste produced
2) To cut down on the amount of new electronic devices and components that need to be made
3) To protect our local and global environment
The environment suffers if electronic devices are not properly disposed of. As well as releasing dangerous, poisonous materials into the water supply and local food chains as they break down, circuit boards also spread microplastic shards, corrosive fluids, and noxious emissions if burnt. Recycling means that dangerous materials are removed and safely disposed of, not left to leak out of landfills or damage fields and rivers.
Mandatory WEEE recycling helps cut down illegal exports of electronic waste to developing countries and rogue dumping in the UK, which in turn helps prevent the growth of eyesores and public liabilities.
Dumping is a costly waste of the expensive, finite, and rare raw materials used to make electronics. Valuable metals such as gold, copper, and aluminium can all be safely recovered from dead circuit boards, and plastic casings can be melted down to form new household products.
If the device is still salvageable or is simply outdated but working, most WEEE workshops can restore it to full order. Older PCs that have been saved via WEEE salvage are often resold to cover the costs of recycling, donated to a charity, or passed on to schools, colleges, and libraries. WEEE supports a beneficial lifecycle, transferring electronic assets from businesses to the public at no additional cost to the environment or the taxpayer.
At Absolute IT Asset Disposal we provide affordable, transparent WEEE recycling schemes and equipment processing for businesses across Britain. Ask us today about our process for recycling old and unwanted electronic devices.
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