Council WEEE collections
The following are examples of the types of small WEEE most councils can collect for free:
- Gaming consoles, computers, laptops, and tablets
- Remote controls and small speakers
- Children’s toys
- Kitchen appliances such as kettles, toasters, blenders, etc.
- Hairdryers, electric shavers, and electric toothbrushes
- Sporting equipment
- Chargers, smartwatches, and smartphones
All other larger WEEE items – for example, computers, television sets, cookers and washing machines – need to either be taken to recycling sites or be specially collected.
Recycling centre WEEE disposal
Instead of relying on council collection, you can take some unwanted WEEE items to local household recycling centres. Just make sure your closest one accepts this type of waste before making the trip.
However, this is only an option if you’re looking to get rid of electronic items from home. This is because most local recycling centres won’t accept commercial waste. It is better for businesses to contact a professional office furniture or WEEE waste removal service to dispose of their old computers.
WEEE regulations state that retailers must offer to take back WEEE waste of the same type as the item you buy from them, whether you purchase in-store or online. The items do not have to be the same brand either, as long as they have the same function, e.g. they must accept a laptop if you have bought a new one from them.
There are some rules to this, for both the retailer and you.
The retailer must:
- allow customers at least 28 days to bring in the electronic waste item
- offer this in-store service for free (but they can charge to cover transport costs if they collect the items from your office)
- take back every type of electrical equipment that they sell – they can then choose to extend their service to cover all types of electronic waste
- take the electric waste to the retailer within 28 days
- have bought an item from the retailer with the same function as the one you’re looking to take back
Take-back systems for small WEEE items
Many large electronics retailers are required to take back all small WEEE goods. Very small WEEE items include electronic equipment smaller than 25cm on both sides.
To decide which retailers fall under this requirement, the government has stated that if their electronic space (including aisles, displays and shelves) is greater than 400 square metres, they must have a take-back system in place*.
The store should offer this service for free to everyone, regardless of whether they have bought anything from the store.
Professional collections in-line with WEEE regulations
Almost all electrical waste contains harmful chemicals. WEEE decays over time in landfills and leaks pollutants into the ground and water systems. Due to this, it is the law that all businesses and government bodies in Europe must properly dispose of their electrical waste, and failure to do so can result in an expensive fine or even imprisonment.
Since most electrical waste includes metal, glass, plastic, arsenic, lead and mercury, the recycling of electronic products poses a serious health risk to those involved and must be taken care of by fully trained professionals with a WEEE certification.
If you conduct an office clearance and do not dispose of WEEE in compliance with the law, you may face costly fines. Having the items removed by professionals is the best option if you are unsure of the correct procedures.
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