Published 25th of November 2020

Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013, producers and retailers are responsible for taking back and recovering or disposing of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) from businesses and householders.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing forms of waste. It can contain substances such as mercury and lead, which can cause significant harm to human health and the environment.

Read on to discover more about what WEEE legislation means for you and your business.

What is WEEE disposal?

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is any electrical or electronic waste, whether whole or broken, that is going to be disposed of.

This includes household appliances, such as washing machines and fridges, IT telecommunications equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys and leisure equipment and certain medical devices.

Is my business affected by WEEE legislation?

Any business that manufactures own-brand electrical or electronic equipment (EEE), sells rebranded EEE from another business, or sells imported EEE will be obligated to meet stringent WEEE regulations.

The amount of EEE goods your business places on the market will determine whether you are a ‘small’ or ‘large’ producer, which will impact your level of compliance. Anything over 5 tonnes of EEE on the UK market in a year and you will be classed as a large WEEE producer.

What is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive?

The European Commission (EC) has introduced two directives in order to address the problems presented by WEEE.

  1. The Directive on Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment.
  2. The Directive on the Restriction of use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS).

The purpose of the directives was to set targets for the collection, recovery and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment across Europe and divert volumes of waste electrical equipment from landfill. The legislation places the onus on producers to be responsible for their items when they become waste.

The UK WEEE legislation requires businesses to:

  • Minimise waste arising from their electrical and electronic equipment products and promote their reuse
  • Ensure the waste products are treated correctly and meet recovery and recycling targets for the waste materials
  • Design products by reducing material use and enhancing reusability and recyclability

How do the WEEE regs affect my business?

It is your business’ responsibility to be aware of the options available to you and ensure that the duty of care is observed at all times. Here’s a few common EEE items your business may need to dispose of:

  • IT and telecommunications equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools
  • Medical devices
  • Monitoring and control instruments
  • Automatic dispensers
  • Lighting equipment
  • Cooling appliances
  • Display equipment (monitors or flat screens)

It’s your responsibility to store your waste safely, using a registered waste carrier, keeping a waste transfer note when it leaves your business and ensuring that your waste is handled by an appropriately licensed supplier.

How to dispose of WEEE as a business

According to the WEEE waste directive, all businesses that sell electronic or electrical equipment must supply customers with a way to dispose of their old versions when selling them a newer one.

It is not advised to sell old IT equipment for use of refurbishment by third parties, due to the security risk. The best way to protect your data is to completely destroy your unwanted hardware. WEEE recycling turns your business IT equipment into new products without compromising on security.

Shredall SDS Group specialises in safe e-waste collections and disposal in compliance with the WEEE legislation. We specialise in hard drive and IT & media destruction, helping businesses turn old IT equipment into new products without compromising on security. Each destruction receives a waste transfer note and certificate of destruction.

Contact our team to arrange a hard drive or IT & media destruction recycling service.