Every year the amount of electronic waste generated is rapidly increasing. It is now known that this is one of the fastest-growing waste streams that have ever existed. This kind of waste can often be hazardous because it contains a mixture of complex materials.
When these materials break down in a landfill or an illegal dumping site, they can cause significant harm to the environment and people living around the area.
It is of the utmost importance that electronic equipment is recycled correctly without causing any health or environmental problems. Adopting this system has many benefits, and procedures to protect the environment have been put in place already.
Businesses that sell or use Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) must follow the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive. The WEEE directive was first introduced in 2002, with updates made in 2012, including more equipment.
The directive lists equipment into categories of devices that are going to become waste once the owner decides to get rid of it. Many EEE’s are listed in the regulation and are going to merge with the WEEE.
There are 11 categories of WEEE so let’s explore them to find out more.
- Large Household Appliances
- Heating pumps
- Sewing Equipment
- Vacuum cleaners
- Cleaning equipment
- IT and Telecommunications
- Desktop PCs
- Consumer Equipment
- Musical Instruments
- Video Recorders
- Various Lighting Equipment
- Fluorescent Lamps
- Sodium Lamps
- Other Lighting Equipment.
- Electrical and Electronic Tools
- Gardening Equipment.
- Leisure, Toys, and Sports Equipment
- Video Game Consoles
- Slot Machines
- Electronic Running Devices
- Medical Devices
- Dialysis and Cardiology Equipment
- Other Medical Equipment.
- Monitoring and Control Equipment
- Smoke Detectors
- Other Control Instruments
- Automatic Dispensers
- Beverage Distributors
- Mechanical Food Machines
- Photovoltaic Panels
- Solar Panels
The list above was first published in was first posted in 2002 and is still applicable up until this day. When the list was updated in 2012, the WEEE officially stated that there would be six new categories added to the list.
- Temperature exchange equipment
- Screen, monitors, and other equipment containing screens small than 100cm squared
- Small equipment
- Large Equipment
- Small IT and telecommunication equipment
The change of categories should allow manufacturers compliance and take-back schemes that could be used to benefit their business. Administrative declarations and reporting are managed more accessible when the Producers Responsibility Organization (PRO) is involved in a product vetting process.
When the day comes that an owner disposes of EEE, it automatically becomes WEEE. Following the guidelines set out for you, the WEEE must be disposed of correctly and in a way that benefits the environment.
You have the option of recycling, recovering, or reusing the products through the program and by contacting the producer to aid in the process. In most cases, producers are obliged to arrange such treatment and logistics, generally with the help of PRO.
Keep the environment safe from electrical pollution and do the right thing by abiding by the rules set out by the WEEE directive.