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The WEEE Directive






     Glasgow businesses need to get to grips with their WEEE responsibilities, this affect every business that sells electrical or electronic goods.

Businesses in Glasgow should also be aware of their responsibilities of recycling WEEE at the end of it life, ensuring that they dispose of their computers etc with a recognised WEEE recycling company.

Since the WEEE directive got its green’ light and became law,has the dust yet settled on the legislation, or is business’s understanding of the directive still very much up in the air?

Time was that organisations felt roughly the same way about their old PCs and servers as anyone that hasn’t had a pre-frontallobotomy feels about former Big Brother contestants we didn’t know where they ended up afterthey’d left the building. And we didn’t care.Those were the days, eh?

Slowly and reluctantly though, the realisation dawned that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to just dump such dangerous, toxic products after all.

This thought soon took hold andbefore you could say Kyoto Summit, there were pesky global warming headlines everywhere, everyone suddenly grew a conscience, and the government had got its hands not so much on a cash cow as whole damn herd.And so, among other legislation, was born the European Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Coming into force in July 2007, the directive at least notionally made IT hardware manufacturers responsible for making sure end-of-life’ hardware is disposed of in an environmentally

friendly way.

Laying out guidelines on how kit should be treated and setting specific targets for recovery and recycling, it has forced producers of electrical and electronic equipment to not only collect end-of-life products, but dispose of them properly. Great, we all thought, that makes all our old kit their problem. But things weren’t, as it turned out, quite that cut and dried, and the last 12 months have seen companies without watertight hardware tracking processes finding to their cost that the laws apply very much to them too.

To coin an indelicate phrase, there are essentially two types’ of WEEE: historic and non-historic the pivotal deciding point between the two being Saturday the 13th August 2005. Non-historic kit equipment bought new after that date can be returned to its original manufacturer free of charge.

Hardware produced before then (providing it is being replaced with new equivalent kit) can also be returned free of charge, this time to the manufacturer of the new equipment. There is however, an apparently lesser known third scenario; one of which several businesses have fallen foul since WEEE came into force.

Because where a company is binning equipment that was purchased before 13th August 2005 and not replacing it with equivalent kit, the company in question is itself responsible for the proper disposal of said hardware. A similar responsibility exists for any kit whose producer cannot be traced. Such subtleties are still passing many businesses by, with a number of firms currently facing prosecution as a result. Moreover, the authorities no longer regard ignorance as an acceptable defence.

“You can’t just turn around and say it’s someone else’s job; the prosecution will come against the company who last had responsibility for the hardware.” “If you claim to have given it to someone who said they had disposed of it correctly the Environment Agency will ask if you checked the relevant certification. If you didn’t (or can’t prove that you did) you can’t be said to have carried out due diligence.”

Of equal concern is that if due diligence is not being observed where WEEE is concerned, chances are that compliance with other crucial legislation, and even basic best practice, are in jeopardy too. Data protection for instance.

Where hardware hasn’t been disposed of within stipulated guidelines, there’s always a risk that it (and any residual data on it) could fall into criminal hands. And that carries with it potentially huge commercial and legal repercussions. From a criminal damage perspective alone, data on each individual consumer can be worth £10 to a criminal, £1million for a drive containing 100,000 customer records in other words.

Thankfully though, keeping within the bounds of legality and good practice shouldn’t be too taxing provided businesses stick to a few basic ground rules.

First, when buying new hardware, be sure to take note of and keep its producer’s registration number so they can be contacted come disposal time. Alternatively, the supplier or retailer with whom you’re working may offer to affect the disposal on your behalf, but make sure they have the proper WEEE registrations. It’s also worth noting that many suppliers charge for such services. With existing hardware, check its recycling symbols. If the symbol is a bar underneath a crossed-out wheelie bin then it’s non-historic’ (produced after 13th August 2005) so its disposal is the responsibility of the producer.

Historic equipment displays a similar symbol but without the bar. Consumables such as printer cartridges fall outside WEEE regulations but instead are usually subject to Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) rules. Outsourcing to a specialist disposal company can be a tempting option. But proceed with care.

“By law, any business disposing of IT hardware is responsible for making sure that the company or companies it contracts to do the job for it are properly registered waste carriers”, “The disposer must also ensure that the hardware in question is accompanied by a waste transfer or hazardous waste consignment note and that it is removed to a suitable facility to be treated and recycled.” It is essential to obtain and retain proof of the above.

And a duty of care note may not be enough; companies have to show, and prove that they have shown,

due diligence.” This is not always helped by companies’ existing policies and practices however, there is “a huge amount of ignorance” as regards what does and doesn’t constitute proper hardware disposal.

“The job (often) gets delegated to a junior and not dealt with correctly”. “70% of even large corporates haven’t got a clue how to dispose of hardware properly, and their ignorance of the data protection laws is worse than their ignorance of the (WEEE) Directive.

They don’t understand how to completely destroy data and they often don’t track assets properly either.” In essence there are three ways of destroying data, but perhaps the most drastic and obvious physically crushing the drive is also probably the least effective. Overwriting with random patterns or degaussing, where a huge electromagnetic field destroys the hard disk, are generally considered most effective.

The third option is to disintegrate the hard drive, but this needs to be done to a minimum of 13mm otherwise it may still be possible to recover the data. Other options are now coming to the fore. Charitable donation is a clever way to combine WEEE compliance with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) efforts, for instance via organisations such as Remploy e-cycle, a provider of specialist employment services for disabled people that recycles or remarkets old hardware and components.

“Large corporations say that this gives them the opportunity to do top-to-bottom CSR”, i.e. If a firm chooses to dispose of its equipment via Remploy it is simultaneously helping people with disabilities, helping the environment, and donating useful equipment. It is even possible to profit from this process, with refurbishment costs varying from £10 per machine and refurbished machines selling for between £70 and £150.

At Go Green, we offer solutions for a variety of Environmental issues. Please click on the following link to contact us.




Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com


www.beseengogreen.eu/news/the-weee-directive/


Posted on 2010-11-02, By: *

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