Today we have a guest blogger called Stewart McGrenary writing about WEEE recycling. To contact the author please email; [email protected]

The Importance of WEEE Recycling and How Businesses Can Get More Involved

The recycling industry under the WEEE directive has grown by leaps and bounds, which means less e-waste make their way on landfills and negatively affect our environment.

About two million e-waste tons are still being discarded from businesses and homes in the UK, a large percentage of which can be recycled.

The WEEE Directive

 WEEE, or Waste Electrical & Environmental Equipment is any tech that has approached the end cycle and are powered by either batteries or a plug.

 When applied to businesses, WEEE can certainly bring a better and more sustainable practice. Broken mouse, keyboard, scanners and printers, monitors, routers and computers may be sent to a recycling platform instead of ending up in the bin, and subsequently, the landfill.

 Why Recycle WEEE?

 All electronic items can contain toxic substances in the form of heavy metals or chemicals that can be dangerous for our health. For example, a desktop computer is made up of a few dozen components that contain mercury, lead, plastic, glass and precious metals that can still be recovered.

 When WEEE items are dumped and left to decay in landfills, they slowly leak these toxins, which eventually reach our drinking water supply and the soil. Crops can leach these toxins and ultimately lead the damage right back to us.

 WEEE recycling is a law in Europe, which means everyone is required to dispose of their e-waste in a responsible manner. Regulations that are in line with the WEEE directive state that homes and businesses must recycle, reuse or recover e-waste thru various channels that are EU and UK compliant. With that in mind, more and more companies, even the local establishments are getting in on the recycling act.

 Reuse Before You Recycle

 According to the WEEE regulations, businesses should try to reuse their appliances, tech gadgets and office equipment before turning them in for recycling purposes. Statistics say that reuse is about 20 times better than recycling when it comes to saving energy. Instead of having to take the items to a recycling shop and using a sorter to collect recyclable components, reusing can give a particular product a ‘second life’ when sent to charity or organizations such as libraries, schools and hospitals.

 Know Your Sustainable Options

 All individuals and organizations must be educated about their waste options before throwing it in the waste bin. Prevention, reuse, recycle and recovery comes before disposal. Keep in mind that recycling still uses energy, so it’s better to reuse and donate to other people or companies. If possible, startups and local enterprises may choose to buy recycled, reused or refurbished equipment instead of buying new, which saves them money for other things.

 Proper Electronic Waste Disposal

 How can you start recycling and disposing of e-waste properly?

 You can determine if the item is still working or not. For example, a computer can be plugged in and turned on; if it can still carry out basic tasks, such as send an email, browse the internet or create a document, then it’s still deemed usable. Consider donating it to your local charitable institutions.

 You can get a sort of cash rebate when you send your old items to authorized recycling companies such as Plunc. They can accept pre-loved gadgets such as Surface Books, PixelBooks, Samsung Galaxy phones, iPads, iPhones and others.

 For electronic goods that aren’t working anymore, you can bring it to a recycling platform or have a specialist company collect if in bulk. There are UK-based waste removal companies that can head to your office and get the unneeded things.

 In an organization, a team can be put in charge of complying with the WEEE directive. That team can be educated and trained to become aware of the ways how they can follow the rules and regulations. Then, they can contribute with ideas and processes that could integrate the e-waste directives into the company’s workflows and day-to-day operations.

 Remember that recycling can provide the following advantages-

  • Environmental Benefits. Less e-waste in the bin means less items in landfills and therefore, less pollution and toxic waste.
  • Business Reputation. Reputable companies get more loyalty from their customers and better chances of winning contracts.
  • Reducing Waste Cost. The amount of waste gets reduced, which gives you more savings on landfill tax.
  • Energy Savings. You can save energy in reusing aluminum instead of having to have it made from scratch.
  • Legal Obligations. Recycling is completely in line with the WEEE directive and ensure you and your business stays fully compliant.

Not only that, but our Earth is saved and we make our planet more sustainable for future generations. It’s not difficult to start being responsible today- a small contribution, such as sending your old smartphone or fax machine to a recycling platform can go a long way. From there, you can start making it a habit which can lead to better practices both at home and for business.


If you’d like any help or advice regarding environmental reporting or data management please contact the team here.

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