In 2002, the Environmental Agency in the UK came up with a simple, yet effective set of guidelines to promote the recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. This systematic approach is known as WEEE Directive. This directive encompasses everything from laptop recycling to large-scale IT equipment disposal.
WEEE is the acronym for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The WEEE Directive ensures that all the necessary efforts are made to reuse or recycle discarded electronic and electrical equipment before finally disposing them as waste.
Important Points about WEEE Directive:
- The main objective is to minimise the total amount of WEEE ending up in landfills.
- To work in collaboration with the 'Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive'.
- The RoHS Directive is mainly responsible for monitoring the material content of the manufactured electronic goods.
- To set out the prospective goals for collection, recovery and recycling of WEEE waste.
Businesses have a responsibility to comply with the WEEE Directive if they carry out any of the following:
- Manufacture or sell electrical equipment.
- Own a business that uses and regularly disposes obsolete electronic and electrical equipment.
- Rebrand electronic devices under their own label.
- Are a retailer of imported or locally manufactured electronic and electrical appliances.
- Run an office/s which conducts regular hardware upgrades.
The WEEE Directive has contributed to improving the local ecosystem and in turn has helped boost economic growth.
The most evident benefits of the WEEE Directive are:
- The ongoing decrease in the electronic waste generation year on year.
- Lower levels of toxic greenhouse gas emissions.
- The reduced need to dispose of the electronic waste into landfills.
- Better living conditions for people living in proximity to landfill sites.
- Ultimate decline in the high prices of high-end electrical equipment.
WEEE compliance forms an important part of an organisation thriving in modern times and in adopting a recycling strategy, businesses can operate whilst acting responsibly to reduce their impact on the surrounding environment.