WEEE Regulations

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, or WEEE for short, represents all hardware that ends up either incinerated, dumped, or placed in landfill. This covers everything from laptops to fridges and represents a major and fast-growing issue on a global scale. WEEE includes pretty much anything with a plug or battery:

Household appliances: everything from fridges to vacuums

  • Computer and Telecommunications: including laptops and phones
  • Electrical tools: such as drills and sewing machines
  • Games and sports equipment: anything like games consoles or running machines
  • Monitoring equipment: includes fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • WEEE also covers consumer equipment, medical equipment, and lighting equipment
  • Our Resource Recovery Manager Paul told us:

“E-waste contains a complex mixture of materials, some of which are hazardous and can cause significant environmental and health problems if not properly managed. The WEEE Regulations are extremely important as they help us mitigate risks by ensuring safe collection, treatment, recycling, and recovery of electronic waste”

How Big of an Issue is WEEE?

It is estimated that every year, around 2 million tonnes of WEEE is generated by both companies and households throwing out old technology in the UK alone, and it is the fastest growing domestic waste stream in the world with over 50 million tonnes produced per year. To put it simply, this number needs to come down as quickly as possible.  
WEEE can also contain a number of different chemicals, some of which can be harmful and can cause significant, long-lasting damage to the environment and personal health of those in the surrounding area.

There are also valuable, finite materials within the waste such as gold, copper and aluminium. Reusing or recycling WEEE responsibly helps conserve natural resources while also reducing general landfill waste.

What are the WEEE Regulations?

Electronic and electric equipment is regulated with the goal of significantly reducing the amount that ends up in landfills and to ensure the correct management of e-waste. This is achieved by putting the responsibility of the equipment's lifespan on the producer, which includes manufacturers, importers and distributors.

Consumers are provided with a location nearby to them to dispose of their WEEE free of charge. This makes it easier for waste to be funnelled to the necessary facilities where they can either have its lifespan increased through reuse or responsibly dismantled while adhering to environmental standards.

What are the Aims of the WEEE Regulations?

The primary aim of the WEEE Regulations is environmental protection. Enforcing the proper collection, dismantling and recycling of the product helps to regulate each individual piece of equipment and in turn hopes to dramatically reduce amount of equipment that ends up in landfills. 
Not only are the regulations aiming to reduce the amount of WEEE ending up in landfills, but they are also aiming to change the way that manufacturers create their equipment. Creating a situation in which the producers must keep accurate reports on everything that they create, as well as where they are required to front the cost of recycling looks to encourage products that are easier to repair, upgrade and recycle.  
This in turn encourages a circular economy and that works to extend the lifespan of many products as much as possible through reuse and eventual recycling. 
The overall aims are to protect the environment by reusing and conserving finite resources, enforcing a responsible recycling policy, and putting responsibility on those that benefit most from the sale of these products.

How can you Help?

Although a lot of the emphasis falls upon the producer when it comes to responsibility, you still play the most important role – responsibly recycling or disposing of your own equipment. For the process to work as it should, equipment must be disposed of in an appropriate manner, and this will involve you taking it to the correct location or selling it to a reputable supplier of refurbished technology. From this point you have played your part, well done!

Another fantastic way to support these regulations and help improve the world we live in is to look at buying Reused and refurbished equipment. At Techbuyer we have a wide range of technology for commercial and personal use. You can help contribute to a circular economy.

How Does the Future Look?

With the current regulations in place, we can begin to look forward to less waste finding its way into landfill, as well as more materials getting reused and recycled.  
As time passes, we can also expect the WEEE regulations to be reviewed and adjusted to address new challenges and technologies that may arise. As we become more effective with our recycling these regulations may also begin to get stricter and standards for producers may rise. These regulations aim to change our relationship with technology for the better and encourage a more renewable future.

If you have surplus hardware that you are looking to responsibly sell, dispose of or recycle, or have an interest in purchasing refurbished technology, Techbuyer has you covered. Find out more about our services and full lifecycle solutions here.