Why is Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling (WEEE) so important? In order to answer this question, we need to understand how electrical and electronic devices are manufactured. The fact is, fridge freezers, mobile phones and also sorts of electronic equipment is made using toxic components such as metals and harmful chemicals.
This means that when these items are discarded in landfills, the toxins can seep into the ground and as a result entire our water supply and food chain. The results can be extremely damaging not only to humans but also animals, plants and the greater environment. This is why the Government has strict laws in place The Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013 and update covering WEEE waste disposal.
Since the original WEEE waste regulations governing the recovery, reuse and recycling of products were introduced in 2006, there has been a number of updates. The latest amendment expanded the range of products to be including under the directive and was enshrined in UK law in January 2019. The latest WEEE Regulations can be seen here Government Guidance Notes (PDF).
Although it could be tempting for some to dump an electrical item, there are many valid reasons why these items need to be recycled. Electric appliances and electronic gadgets are becoming more and more prevalent, creating an exponential growth of global WEEE waste. Recycling is necessary in order to curb damage to the environment and to prevent precious materials being lost.
Needless to say, WEEE recycling is a highly specialised part of waste clearance services and must be handled correctly by regulated rubbish clearance professionals. Experienced operatives like G&S Clearance provide this crucial service in the Brighton, Hove and the surrounding areas. In such cases, a professional waste management team will remove WEEE items and dispose of them in WEEE recycling plants which are run by specialist companies who are authorised to recover and recycle the materials from these products.
Although each country has its own regulations, there are also European directives in place that set out the objectives for both individuals and organisations. The EU target is to achieve 65% return rate which is calculated as the ratio between the amount of waste collect and sold. The UK is currently leading the way with around 28 ‘producer compliance schemes’, as opposed to the European average of between six to eight WEEE recycling schemes.
The legislation also differentiates between different groups of WEEE products which fall into two main categories: professional and domestic. Common household items are split into five further groups ranging from R1 to R5, covering everything from cold and climate to large white goods, old cathode tube TVs, irons and kitchen equipment through to fluorescent lighting.
When your fridge-freezer or TV is taken away by your waste clearance professional, it will be taken to a treatment plant initially for storage and recovery, so that the materials can be reused. It is possible to recover and recycle a surprising array of materials, including plastics, glass, metals, oils (from fridges and freezers) and also toxic substances such as mercury and other metals.
What happens to your old WEEE items? If possible, electrical and electronic equipment will be resold to benefit charities or social enterprise partners. Item like coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and PCs are stringently tested (in adherence with PAS141 standards) and then resold. In the case of items which can’t be resold, the products will be stripped and the components reused.
G&S Clearance provides an easy to arrange site collection service for WEEE waste removal. Simply indicate the type of waste to be removed and you will receive a quote based on the product, size and weight. Alternatively, you can book a partial or full van load depending on what you need. We take the following type of WEEE waste:
• White goods
• Domestic appliances
• IT and telecommunications
• Entertainment, toys & communications
• Climate control equipment
• Photovoltaic solar panels