An article produced by PHS Wastetech about who is responisble for the waste management of electronic goods.
In the United Kingdom, any business that imports, manufactures, or sells electrical goods, or is responsible for the management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) has obligations underneath the WEEE legislation. This directive implements the key of “extended producer responsibility”, where the onus is on the producers to take financial responsibility for that environment impact of the items when these become waste. The goal would be to reduce the amount of waste from such products and improve their re-use, recover and recycling.
Under current WEEE legislation companies have certain duties in which older devices are being changed, the duty for collection, treatment and recycling from the old products lies with the producer of the replacement. Older equipment is regarded as anything purchased before 13th August 2005. For replacement of more recent equipment the duty for waste management lies with the equipment producer. When the company doesn’t replace older equipment (again, bought before 13th August 2005), the duty for disposal rests upon the business. The circumstances for leased or rented devices are slightly different – here responsibility has a tendency to lie with the equipment producer.
The WEEE Regulations affect all organisations that handle electrical equipment, regardless of size, including Producers (i.e. producers, professional importers or re-branders), Marketers to household clients (e.g. merchants, distance retailers for example internet merchants), Business end-users, WEEE treatment facilities and Exporters.
The WEEE Regulations require producers of equipment to satisfy certain obligations relevant to collection, treatment and recycling – including taking back items from clients or supplying alternatives. The regulations specify a minimum treatment standards and recycling targets and furthermore, all waste operators or exporters should be Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities and Approved Exporters.
Based on the latest figures realized by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) waste disposal composed 16% of Local Authority Collected Waste. This is among the highest groups of disposal and it is only exceeded by paper/cards and food. Particularly, the European Commission has prioritised WEEE among four waste streams for improvement in recycling and disposal. Presently, plans are now being examined to revise the WEEE regulations, which might see a rise in recycling targets, along with other changes.