WEEE within reach

Speaking on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEE) directive this week at ET2005 in Birmingham Gary Griffiths Of IT recycling firm RDC reminded business and consumers of their obligations under the new legislation and reassured them that compliance was a realistic possibility.

The directive had been due to be introduced throughout the EU this August but its UK launch has now been put back to January next year.

Once it is implanted producers of electronic goods will have a responsibility to take back products at the end of their working life and recycle or dispose of them.

Mr Griffiths said the same obligation applied to importers and there was no getting round the legislation by shipping the defunct machinery to the developing world where waste law might be less strict.

He said legislators had gone out of their way to make things easy for consumers, who would simply have to separate electronics from other household waste or take it to recycling centres similar to those already existing in supermarket car parks across the land.

But producers will have to be able to track their products from cradle to grave and have systems in place to recover them, or at least fund their recovery.

He said sister regulation Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) would also limit the use of toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and certain flame retardants in products.
The aim of the directives was three-pronged, he said.

It would try to combat our buy-and-bin culture and help us meet waste and recycling targets, force manufacturers to accept their responsibility for the goods they made and reduce the amount of hazardous waste we produce.

By Sam Bond

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