The WEEE generation
Sweep a glance around a busy commuter train and you'll often catch people cradling some form of electronic device. Busy texting someone on a mobile phone, tapping away on an i-Pad or engrossed in a book on their Kindle, it seems the electronic device has become an extension of a person. The explosion in electrical products for personal, as well as household, use has been truly phenomenal and there is no sign of this love-affair with technology ending.
However, with our throw-away society, sooner or later these personal devices, along with tonnes of other unwanted electronic and electrical products, will no longer be desired by the owner, which seems an opportune moment to steer this rambling comment towards the revised waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Directive.
This summer the European Union plans to publish the long-awaited recast of the directive, which gives the UK until early 2014 to implement it into national law. The new directive sets higher collection targets for member states and this will impact both on households and the business sector. One of the knock on effects of these ambitious targets is that attention will focus on how businesses record and capture WEEE recycling and reuse.
Under the new rules, retailers will have to collect not only small domestic appliances but also collect low-energy light bulbs separately. As Nigel Harvey, Recolight's chief executive, notes in the forthcoming April issue of the magazine, accessing retail collection data would help local authorities in reporting and meeting their own recycling targets.
While the kerbside collection of WEEE is not required under the revised directive, it is encouraged. One local authority €" Woking Borough Council, together with Biffa, has been very proactive in this area, rolling out a new kerbside WEEE collection scheme that has had really positive results. Look out for this story too in April's issue.Nick Warburton