WEEE Regulations

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive is now European Law and the UK regulations became law on 13th August 2004. Financial ‘producer’ responsibility started on 13th August 2005.

Background

WEEE is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK with each person discarding some 14 kilos every year.  At present the majority of this goes straight into landfill or is incinerated without any pre-treatment.  This waste can contain environmentally damaging substances – lead, mercury and cadmium for example. The waste contains tens of thousands of tons of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, glass and plastics, all of which can be recycled and re-used.  As a nation we are running out of “holes in the ground”, so the government is raising tax on landfill to discourage its use.

The Directive’s general aims are waste prevention, increased re-use, recycling and recovery of WEEE and improved environmental performance by all operators involved in the lifecycle of electrical or electronic equipment, particularly those concerned with treatment.

What does the Directive Cover?

All equipment dependent on electrical currents or electromagnetic fields - from kettles to washing machines – batteries to television sets. The regulations are built around the producer, who is

  • Tasked to design new products that use less of our natural resources and
  • To pay for the collection, transport, treatment and recycling of all current and future separately collected WEEE (redundant equipment) 

Business to Business sales will make the producer responsible for taking back equipment on a like for like basis i.e. when a business buys a new cooker the supplier will be legally obliged to take back the old cooker for recycling.

Who is a Producer?

A producer means any person, irrespective of selling techniques used or distances communication (selling over Internet) who:

  • Manufactures and sells his own brand
  • Resells under his own brand
  • Imports goods  

What does the Directive demand?

All Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment:

  1. Will be recycled by licensed operators according to rigorous standards using 'state of the art' technology.
  2. Will have separate removal of all fluids and certain substances (lead, mercury) and components that contain them.
  3. Will need an audit trail from waste producer to waste treatment facility to ensure duty of care.
  4. All costs from business to business WEEE to be dealt with by the producers

In essence this will mean the producer taking back the redundant cooker/computer/refrigerator, when a new machine is supplied and arranging for the waste machine to be recycled at an approved and licensed facility. 

Other Issues

Any carrier removing waste items from producer’s premises (removing an old fridge /cooker from a restaurant) must have a ’Waste Carriers License'.  Precision are working with Environmental Storage Solution, a Wellingborough based operation, to address the above and provide a sound solution to a growing issue.

Environmental Storage Solutions are:

  • licensed to handle waste refrigeration
  • licensed to treat/recycle WEEE
  • Inspected monthly by the EA
  • ISO 9001/14001 compliant

Licensed waste carriers - LICENCE 73115