The Health and Safety Executive, which is responsible for regulating health and safety in British workplaces, estimates that around 2 million tonnes of WEEE items are discarded by both businesses and households annually. These items include practically anything with a battery or plug, but they are split into 14 broad categories.
Sending these items to landfills would be catastrophic for the environment, so the UK government introduced the WEEE directive in 2006 to steer businesses down the correct path. Here we look at how to dispose of business WEEE.
What is Business WEEE?
Business Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is the name given to practically any discarded electrical equipment, ranging from large cookers to smoke detectors.
Electrical items covered by the WEEE regulations are split into these categories:
- Small household appliances: Hairdryers, clocks, toasters, kettles etc.
- Large household appliances: White goods, excluding cooling equipment.
- Medical devices: Radiotherapy, dialysis, and ventilator equipment.
- Consumer equipment: Electric instruments, hi-fi, and radius, etc. Excludes TVs.
- IT and telecommunications equipment: Calculators, computers and phones. Excludes monitors.
- Automatic dispensers: Money, drink and food dispensers.
- Electronic and electrical tools: Lawnmowers, welding gear, and drills.
- Lighting equipment: Light fittings. Filament lamps excluded.
- Display equipment: Monitors and TVs.
- Monitoring and control instruments: Thermostats, smoke detectors, and other relevant gear.
- Toys, leisure and sports equipment: Slot machines, video games, train sets, remote control cars, etc.
- Photovoltaic panels: Solar electricity panels.
- Gas discharge & LED lamps: High-intensity discharge lamps, fluorescent tubes, and LEDs.
- Cooling equipment: Air conditioning and refrigeration units.
What Are the WEEE Disposal Regulations?
The WEEE regulations demand that all businesses store, collect, treat, and dispose of WEEE items separate from their regular waste. Additionally, sufficient evidence must be kept to prove that such items were handed to an authorised waste management company.
When a business moves property, our expert drivers understand everything there is to know about WEEE, which is why we always offer to dispose of and recycle WEEE items to help streamline the move. Additionally, we provide businesses with a Recycling Confirmation Certificate, which can be stored and used as evidence.
Why is WEEE Recycling So Important?
Electrical waste contains harmful chemicals that are released into the environment when sent to landfill. These toxins can either be drawn into the air or seeped into the ground to enter food or water supplies, which can lead to mass health conditions.
When you let our expert collections team assist you with WEEE recycling, we guarantee that nothing goes to landfill. Even though disposing of WEEE correctly comes at a cost, it’s cheaper than being handed a hefty £5000 fine for non-compliance.
Read more: Top 10 Office Recycling Ideas
Does the Age of the Item Impact WEEE?
The age of products can impact how WEEE is disposed of. If the item was purchased before 13th August 2005 and is being disposed of but not replaced, then it’s up to the business to arrange collection and treatment with us and cover the costs. However, when such items are being upgraded like for like, the original producer of the EEE is responsible for financing, collecting, treatment and recycling.
Items purchased after 13th August 2005 work slightly differently. When a business is happy to simply cover the costs, they do so according to regulations. However, if the producer is to be held responsible, they must identify the producer, contact the producer, and attempt to come to a reasonable agreement.
How is it Treated?
Once we have collected WEEE, it’s taken to Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AAFT), which are recycling centres committed to ensuring every piece of WEEE is reused. The whole process can take up to 10 days, but the exact operation will vary depending on the product and plant. Some adopt a mass shredding technique and other disassemble the products before redirecting the parts.
When moving business and through the general course of operation, it’s essential to comply with WEEE regulations to help boost recycling rates and protect the environment. When you rely on Better Business Removals, all WEEE items can be recycled at selected recycling points.