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Europe, WEEE, RoHS and ICER:
Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Think just how much electrical and electronic equipment is thrown away!

According to the DTI, the total annual electrical and electronic waste in the UK is estimated to be more than 900,000 tonnes. Computers, workstations and systems account for nearly 14% of this and 'white goods' over 30%.
The proliferation of high-tech consumer items, especially computers and mobile phones, together with inbuilt obsolescence explains why such large quantities of goods are discarded. This is not only wasteful but potentially dangerous and we can all benefit if these items are re-used or recycled.
In this section there are a large number of recycling resources and hopefully you can find one, or more, to make recycling a convenient proposition.

Use the menu on the left for Electrics, Phones, Computers or Cartridges

Mallow in Surrey garden Sadie, a Border Collie
Mallow in a Surrey garden One of ours: Sadie, a Border Collie
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The hardware in this section often contains toxic substances hence the casual or prolonged storage of such items, or discarding them so that they go into landfill or for incineration, creates a hazard. You will find some details of dangerous materials on the two pages in this section (eg see Printer Cartridges and Mobile Phones) and also on the Hazardous Waste page (eg see Batteries, CFCs and HCFCs in Fridges and Freezers, Mercury Lamps, Fluorescent Tubes and some Plastics).

Major New Initiatives in Europe: WEEE and the associated RoHS
The Commission of the European Communities made proposals for a Directive (June 2000) on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) designed to reduce pollution, avoid the generation of waste and reduce the harmfulness of WEEE. This is a major EC initiative, relevant to the UK, concerning a sector with serious environmental concerns. In the UK the date for compliance was delayed by 6 months to July 2006 with a deadline for targets to be met by December 2006. A further delay ensued with the WEEE Regulations due to come into force on 1 January 2007 with the main requirements and obligations on producers and distributors of EEE coming into force from 1 April 2007. Full producer responsibility for the costs of treating household WEEE started on 1 July 2007.
Intimately entwined with WEEE was the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS). This legislation concerns limiting the amount of toxic materials getting into Electrical and Electronic Equipment at source, in other words, during the manufacturing or assembly stages. The date for implementation in the UK was deferred more than once to July 2006.
Put simply, WEEE and RoHS tackle the problem of hazardous substances entering the environment at opposite ends of the product life-cycle.
To see some of the well documented details on these topics click for a link to The Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling Ltd (ICER) or for our synopsis of the WEEE directive see our WEEE Reference page, and for our summary Reference page on RoHS, click.

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Originated: 3 December, 2001,  Last Amended: 7 May, 2013