Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the fastest growing waste stream in Europe.
The WEEE Directive is aimed at reducing the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment that ends up in landfill.
The directive is mainly aimed at manufacturers and distributers of electrical and electronic equipment but extends to all business users who now have an obligation that WEEE must be stored, collected, treated, recycled and disposed of separately from any other waste that is produced.
The WEEE Regulations apply to any equipment that requires electrical current – from batteries or mains – to perform its primary function.
It should be noted that in most cases, WEEE is not considered to be hazardous waste. Only those items listed in the EWC codes as hazardous or containing such items, will be considered hazardous and must therefore be collected with consignment notes.
Items generally considered to be hazardous include:
Fluorescent tubes, CRT and LCD based television screens and monitors, fridges and freezers and batteries.
A recent explanatory note from the Environment Agency has confirmed that laptops are considered to be hazardous by virtue of their screen being backlit by mini fluorescent tubes containing mercury, regardless of the type of battery they contain.