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Recycling WEEE – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Recycling WEEE – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Posted on April 13th, 2018

Each year WEEE recycling increases. This isn’t surprising when you consider that every year UK householders and businesses throw away an estimated 2 million tonnes of WEEE each year. Currently, WEEE includes most products with a plug or a battery:

  • Large household items
  • Small household items
  • IT and telecommunications equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools
  • Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • Medical devices
  • Monitoring and control devices
  • Automatic dispensers

The Waste Electric and Electronic (WEEE) regulations 2013 came into affect from the 1st January 2019. Leading to an increase in the number of categories.

The new categories include:

  • Temperature control equipment
  • Screens and monitors
  • Small and large equipment.

More information on the changes can be found in schedule 3 and 4 of the regulations.

Treatment of WEEE

Due to the diverse nature of WEEE, the safe collection and treatment possess a number of challenges. For example, fluorescent tubes release mercury when broken. Therefore they require special packaging to safely return the tubes to a recycling point.

The wide variety of materials used further complicates WEEE recycling efforts. A TV or monitor contains 6% metal and 50% glass. Whereas a cooker is 89% metal and only 6% glass. Consequently, there are a wide number of treatment options available. Some treatment facilities use large-scale shredding technologies. Others use either a manual or automated disassembly process.

Collecting WEEE

The WEEE collection options for homeowners are varied and depend on the actual waste and its size. Options include retailer take back schemes and council collection or drop off points.

For small businesses these schemes are either unsuitable or aren’t available. The waste being generated is also likely to be more diverse than residential WEEE and generated more sporadically than other waste streams. After all, how often is electronic medical equipment replaced?

Therefore, small and medium businesses won’t need a routine WEEE collection service. However, Novus Environmental customers can include WEEE collection as part of their existing waste collection service.

If you are currently storing WEEE waste speak to your account manager to arrange collection.

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