Helpful tips on recycling
Written by James Rubin, owner of Enviro Waste London Ltd
With technology constantly updating and advancing, the need for the latest computers and devices in the workplace has increased. This means that there is a constant, ‘out with the old and in with the new’ mentality creeping into offices throughout the UK. But what happens to the old laptops, printers and monitors that are no longer in use?
Electricals can be the most confusing items to recycle. With so many different rules for what needs to go in what bin, what needs to be disposed of by the council and what can go to landfill sites. Many businesses will simply put their old electricals in industrial bins or leave them in a cupboard to gather dust. However, there is a much more environmentally friendly alternative.
What Is WEEE?
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is anything with a plug or battery. When its life cycle comes to an end, this equipment needs to be disposed of. In 2005, a WEEE directive was introduced to correctly dispose of WEEE, so they do not contribute to environmental damage when they are no longer needed.
Why is WEEE important?
Across the world, the amount of waste to do with WEEE is growing at an exponential rate. Many of the materials used in electronic equipment are causing major issues with the health of the planet. Since 2007, the correct disposal of WEEE is law and those who do not adhere to these rules will be penalised.
What are the most common types of WEEE?
40% of WEEE waste is currently composed of large household appliances like washing machines and ovens. However, there are also smaller WEEE items, that many businesses use, that make up a large portion. These include electrical tools, household appliances like toasters, computers, laptops and televisions. Over two million TVs and computers are discarded every year and businesses can often be one of the biggest contributors to this unnecessary waste. Here is a list of common WEEE items that can be easily recycled using waste removal companies:
- Large household appliances – Cookers, washing machines, fridges
- Small household appliances – Vacuum cleaners, clocks, irons
- Electrical and electronic tools – Saws, electric lawn mowers, drills
- Monitoring and control equipment – Heating regulators and thermostats
- IT and telecommunications equipment – Computers and telephones
- Toys, leisure and sports equipment – Games console etc
- Automatic dispensers – Such as coffee dispensers
- Medical devices – Including cardiology equipment
- Consumer equipment – Televisions, radios
London-based company Envirowaste, one of the UK’s top environmentally friendly WEEE disposal services, discovered that these were the most discarded technological items in 2016 from office waste hauls:
- Samsung laptops 240
- HP Fax machine 211
- Toshiba laptops 198
- Logitech webcams 153
- Acer laptops 144
- HP scanners 142
- Binatone telephones 98
- Proaction paper shredders 79
- Canon printers 53
- Assorted franking machines 51
- Philips Projector 51
- Sony video camera 47
- Microsoft webcam 44
- Epson scanner 43
- Goodmans radio 32
- Samsung smartphone 30
- Acer Chromebook 27
- Seagate hard drive 19
- Blackberry mobile phone 11
- Canon digital camera 5
How can I dispose of WEEE items?
There are a few ways in which you can dispose of WEEE. You can use a professional waste disposal service, return the product to the manufacturer, or donate the items to a charity.
Waste Disposal Service
When using a professional environmentally friendly WEEE disposal service, make sure you check the company’s credentials. Here are the questions you should ask:
- Do they comply with relevant legislation such as WEEE?
- Can they provide details of their waste carriers license?
Many manufacturers of electronic goods incorporate WEEE management into their environmental policy. Companies like Dell cover the cost of picking up, shipping to a recycling centre and the recycling of the redundant electronic devices. The recyclable parts of the equipment are used to make new equipment, while the unusable parts are disposed of in an environmentally sound way.
Both of these waste disposal methods help to:
- Cut down on the number of raw materials required to produce new products
- Reduce the volume of waste which goes to the landfill
- Make recycling easy for you
By hiring a professional waste disposal company, you can ensure that there are no electrical goods going to waste within your business. Understanding the correct ways to recycle old equipment, cannot only improve the impact your business is having on the environment but also allow you to use the latest tech without worrying about what to do with older models.