Each year WEEE recycling increases which isn’t surprising when you consider that every year an estimated 2 million tonnes of WEEE are discarded by householders and businesses each year in the UK. Currently WEEE includes most products with a plug or a battery:
- Large household items
- Small household items
- IT and telecommunications equipment
- Lighting equipment
- Electrical and electronic tools
- Toys, leisure and sports equipment
- Medical devices
- Monitoring and control devices
- Automatic dispensers
The categories are set to increase as The Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013 come into effect from 1st January 2019. The new categories include:
- Temperature control equipment
- Screens and monitors
- Small and large equipment.
More information on the changes can be found in schedule 3 and 4 of the regulations.
Treatment of WEEE
Due to the diverse nature of WEEE, the safe collection and treatment possess a number of challenges. For example, fluorescent tubes release mercury when broken and therefore require special packaging to safely return the tubes to a recycling point.
The wide variety of materials used in WEEE further complicates recycling efforts; a TV or monitor contains 6% metal and 50% glass whereas a cooker is 89% metal and only 6% glass. Consequently, there are a wide number of treatment options available. Some treatment facilities use large-scale shredding technologies whilst others use either a manual or automated disassembly process.
The WEEE collections options for homeowners are varied and depend on the actual waste and its size. Options include retailer take back schemes, council collection or drop off points.
For small businesses these schemes are either unsuitable or aren’t available. The waste being generated is also likely to be more diverse than residential WEEE and generated more sporadically than other waste streams. After all, how often is electronic medical equipment replaced?
Therefore, small and medium businesses won’t need a routine WEEE collection service. However, Novus Environmental customers can include WEEE collection as part of their existing waste collection service.
If you are currently storing WEEE waste speak to your account manager to arrange collection.