The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) became law in 2003, it set out targets for WEEE recycling and the recovery of all types of electrical goods.
Prior to implementation of the WEEE waste directive most of the electrical waste generated in the UK was disposed of within the household waste stream and sent to landfill, with a few exceptions such as fridges/freezers and Cathode Ray Tube televisions (CRT). The directive set our targets for the recovery and WEEE recycling of all types of electrical equipment.
The revision in 2012 set out targets of 45% of the weight of products entering the market must be recycled or reused. In 2015 two million tons of WEEE was discarded in the UK. Large items such as washing machines, freezers, fridges and ovens make up 40% of this. Smaller items are discarded in larger numbers – over two million TVs are thrown away every year. This wide range of items need special care when choosing the correct path of disposal. An oven is 89% metal but a TV only 6%, it also contains high levels of hazardous chemicals such as arsenic, lead and mercury.
The Environment agency will inspect companies from time to time to assess your facilities and processes. If you cannot supply proof that you have a contract in place for the collection and disposal of WEEE waste you may be liable for a fine. It is no longer acceptable to throw electrical items into the waste system and the Corporate Social Responsibility plan of your company must be seen to be just that, responsible.
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