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What Do You Do With Your Redundant Electrical Equipment?

Donate, recycle or dispose of it properly ...

 
 


We recently replaced a multi-function printer/copier/scanner in our office. We'd had the old one for a few years, and it was a massive beast; a really cumbersome, floor-standing monster ...

If you have redundant electrical equipment then you need to dispose of them properly!

If you have redundant electrical equipment then you need to dispose of them properly!

copyright: enterline / 123rf stock photo (licensee)

Fortunately for us, the new one had a much smaller footprint and was light enough to sit on a table. But replacing the monster MFD left us with a bit of a dilemma.

"How to dispose of it without breaking the bank or wasting a lot of time?"

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) became European law in 2003 and UK law in 2006. These WEEE regulations, as they became known, are intended to reduce electrical waste, recover components and metals and keep waste electrical and electronic equipment (like the directive, this is also known as WEEE), out of landfill.

Clearly though, reducing hazardous waste and keeping down the cost of raw materials is a necessary part of waste management. It is a highly regulated area that impacts upon all consumers and businesses.

For consumers, retailers should take back old electrical items, and local authorities have recycling facilities. For businesses, it is often a case of paying a specialist contractor.

There are a large number of waste contractors who will take your WEEE, as they receive payments for certified WEEE that they reuse, recycle or recover. They may still charge you for collection though.

Often, up to 97% of components can be kept out of landfill this way. However, less than 30% of all electrical waste is currently recycled in the UK, which compares badly with other parts of Europe, as the rate there exceeds 60%.

Phoning around some local and national waste companies produced quotes ranging from £150 to £350 to collect and dispose of our old MFD. Some weren't interested in a single item and others only wanted working kit, which seemed to be missing the point somehow.

One or two said they reconditioned redundant computers and printers for donation to charities in the UK and abroad, which is a great concept, but our monster MFD didn't fit their criteria.

We eventually found a specialist local waste contractor who could accept a delivery for free and a couple of our engineers spent an hour or so taking out all the removable parts and loading the remaining bits into a van. They delivered the beast and received an official waste transfer note to demonstrate that everything was compliant with the waste management regulations.

"As required, we'll keep the note, along with others for scrap metals and so on, for two years!"

Waste management is often overlooked by many businesses, who understandably focus on processes that generate revenue and support their core operations. But the waste regulations are enforced by local authorities and penalties may be levied for deliberately flouting them.

We must all look at the bigger picture by husbanding resources and protecting the environment. We should all be familiar with the mantra 'Reduce - Reuse - Recycle' and put it into practice every day.

Until next time ...

PETER WILLIAMS


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More about Peter Williams ...

While working with Volvo in the late 70’s I realised the way forward in international component distribution was computing. I created a company distributing components for several international manufacturers using the 'new' computers of the day. I quickly realised we needed our own programs so started writing distribution software. I grew the company by developing the software until I eventually sold my shares 20 years later, but retaining the rights to the software. I continued developing the software and supplied it to several similar companies where the software is still used today.

During 1999, I was asked by a friend to develop a facility to video the live sea conditions on the south coast accessible on the internet. Working with a Linux software developer I created our first remote video application. The internet boom of 2000 allowed me to develop a commercial application forming the basis of our systems today.



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