Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, self employed or the CEO of a major company, at some point you will be faced with the problem of what to do with your old electronic equipment. From printers and laptops to fridges and freezers, electronic waste can be large, cumbersome and potentially hazardous and it is therefore essential that you go about disposing of it in an efficient and responsible manner.
Since January 2007 businesses have been legally obliged to dispose of electronic waste through official channels and are required to acquire and maintain the appropriate paperwork in order to verify their practices. Given the impact that hazardous waste can have on the environment, we are all being encouraged to recycle wherever possible and electronics recycling is now a major trend.
The Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive has paved the way for a wave of faster, more efficient and more environmentally friendly disposal and recycling methods. Thanks in no small part to this legislation, it is now possible to engage the services of ‘full service’ companies that will receive or collect your electronic waste and recycle it in an appropriate and efficient fashion.
Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, with over one million tons of equipment thrown away last year alone. When placed in landfills, electronic waste can leak hazardous substances, including mercury and lead, into the surrounding earth. This risk, as well as fast dwindling natural resources, makes it vital that businesses adopt a policy of electronics recycling.
All in all it pays to keep on top of your recycling. Not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll also be making sure that you’re fully compliant with current legislation. To help you keep on top of your electronics, here’s a super-quick guide to getting it right:
- When you think it’s time to dispose of your electronic equipment, first make sure that you can’t reuse or ‘up-cycle’ it. Technology is so fast paced these days that our first instinct is always to throw away, without first waiting to see if the item in question can be fixed.
- If you’re sure you need to get rid of it, check the equipment for instructions on disposal. Most electronic or electrical waste has a ‘crossed out wheelie bin’ sign on it, signifying the need for proper disposal.
- Contact a reputable recycling company and arrange to have your unwanted items collected.
- Make sure that you have filled out/received the correct paperwork pertaining to your transaction and file this away for future reference.
- Sit back and enjoy the fact that your diligence is helping the environment!
It’s simple, isn’t it? The fact is that we can all quite easily make electronics recycling a part of our businesses and a part of our lives and, in doing so, we can really make a difference.
Chris Turberville-Tully is a marketing strategist for Sims Lifecycle Services, http://www.simslifecycle.co.uk, which not only recycles, but also refurbishes and recovers value from e-waste.