How to dispose of IT equipment
Whilst everyone may know certain areas of recycling inside out, there are some aspects that remain vague and ambiguous in what procedures should be undertaken. Separating plastic from paper and dispensing it in appropriate recycle bins may be standard protocol to some but what about waste that does not fit in to this category? For many people when a computer, mobile phone or power tools are of no use the practise is to throw out the item with no regard to recycling. In fact, when it comes to electronics, more often than not perfectly good, or re-usable, equipment is discarded when a more green solution is at hand.
It is imperative to dispose of electrical and electronic waste in the proper fashion as the costs for not doing so can cause untold damages to the environment and the wildlife that swells in these areas. Mercury, lead and other toxic and hazardous elements are amongst those found in waste electrical equipment and, as they decompose, release these dangerous chemicals and substances into soil, water and surrounding environments. It is because of this that new directives have been created and implemented to ensure that such potentially damaging situations do not arise. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is one of these and has been implemented to discourage profligacy in regards to unwanted items. One of the new regulations requires manufacturers who create these products to be more pro-active in the recycling these items at the end of their life-span.
The WEEE directive has made it easier for people to dispose of their electronic equipment by creating take back facilities – these facilities are usually either of negligible or no cost for their users. The regulations enshrined in the directive have resulted in product retailers offering recycling solutions for the products themselves through implementing a “take back” policy aimed at creating proper standards in ensuring correct recycling and disposal of unwanted goods. Also of importance, however, is ensuring that individuals can promote the directive by actively carrying out recycling of WEEE products both in the workplace and, more specifically, at home. Although the WEEE directive does not penalise individuals for not adhering to its rules, it does provide a template or guidelines for responsible green citizens to follow.
There are many things that an individual can do to help their green credentials through personally recycling. The first action to take, of course, is knowing what procedures you can take and to do so you need to know what household items would be classified as fitting the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment criteria. The UK Environmental Agency list equipment that fall under this umberella as: IT equipment and IT hardware, consumer equipment, electric tools, lighting, electronic goods and control equipment.
Households are encouraged to separate WEEE items using the list as a reference. Once these items have been separated for regular household waste, the next action to take is to find a resource that would be willing to take these items off of your hands. Locally there are many governmental facilities which, by law, are required to take these from you; this is the easiest and perhaps most effective option to undertake. Lists of local civic amenities are easy to come by and not much effort has to be taken on the individual’s behalf to ensure he is doing his bit for the environment. A final option is to get in touch with local suppliers and enquire what their procedures are with regards to returning products for them to recycle. If the previously mentioned “take back” option is unavailable, you are entitled to ask them for details regarding near by facilities and recycling centres. As part of the WEEE directive it is now a requirement for retailers to have access to this knowledge and to give it to the public upon request.
Through not much effort you are able to make a long term difference in terms of the environment and the benefits this will give to the local community.
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