The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling (WEEE) regulation stands for equipment and products that need a battery or have a plug. The regulation came into force in July 2007 to try to encourage people to recycle old electrical products, rather than just throwing them in the bin.
It’s estimated over 2 million tonnes of WEEE items are thrown away every year by households and businesses in the UK. However, there is a responsibility that these types of items and equipment are disposed of in an environmentally and responsible way. Throwing an old toaster into the bin and having it taken to a landfill with your other general waste is not the correct way.
You can tell if an electrical good can be recycled as the products now carry a crossed out wheelie bin sign. If you see this sign on a product, you must not dispose of it in a household bin. If you are still confused what items come under the WEEE Directive, the following are broad categories:
- Large household appliances such as, washing machines, dish washers, cookers, fridges and microwaves.
- Small household appliances such as, toasters, irons and vacuum cleaners.
- IT equipment such as, computers, telephones, copiers and calculators.
- Consumer equipment such as, televisions, radios, recording equipment, music equipment and instruments.
- Lighting equipment such as, fluorescent tubes and discharge lamps.
- Electrical and electronic tools such as, electric lawnmowers, sewing machines, drills and saws.
- Toys and sport equipment such as, running machines, games consoles and electric trains.
- Medical devices such as, cardiology equipment, analysers and dialysis machines (non-infected).
- Monitoring equipment such as, smoke alarms, heating regulators and thermostats.
- Automatic dispensers such as hot drinks and money dispensers.
In 2019, the regulations will be extended to cover even more items of electric and electronic equipment. However, currently large household appliances make up approximately 40% of WEEE, but there are still large volumes of the other categories. Many of the items contain some hazardous materials, which can pose a number of health risks if not managed correctly. For example, the average cooker is 89% metal and 6% glass. Other hazardous materials found can include plastics, ceramics and other metals. Exposure to these substances, including mercury, arsenic and lead, which is possible when items are being moved and disposed of is extremely dangerous. Therefore, it’s important to have it properly and safely removed by a tradesman who has a license to move it.
Any tradesman who takes waste from site must have a licence to move it. East Kent Electrical Ltd take recycling and disposal of electrical equipment seriously. We are approved by the Environment Agency to transport waste and dispose of it correctly, so we clear any waste from site ensuring legal and environmental compliance at all times. If you need any help or have any questions regarding this, please get in touch with us today.