The WEEE Directive is fighting back against so-called ‘e-waste,’ including old mobile phones.
WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The WEEE directive is European legislation which is designed to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic waste that reaches landfill. This is currently the fastest growing type of waste in Europe. It’s increasing at 3 times the speed of other waste. The average UK individual generates 3.3 tonnes of electrical waste during the course of their lifetime. In 2005, The Royal Society of Arts unveiled a 7 metre high sculpture using exactly this amount of waste electronics and called it “WEEE Man”.
WEEE and RoHS
Designating 10 different categories of waste, WEEE was first introduced in 2003 alongside the RoHS directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). These two directives were introduced together in order to work towards the common purpose of reducing hazardous electrical waste. RoHS is more preventative and aimed at companies. It prohibits high concentrations of certain heavy metals and other hazardous materials from being used in the manufacture of electrical and electronic goods.
The WEEE directive, because it includes consumers has a wider remit. It ensures that more of these products are recycled properly, instead of thrown into landfill when they reach the end of their useful lives. The directive helps to ensure that consumers are provided with a means to dispose of their old items, whenever they purchase new ones.
What This Means For You
All electrical goods like washing machines, fridges and televisions in particular, need replacing from time to time. This is not just down to appliances getting old and unusable. Consumers are seduced by all the fresh technology that comes on the market. So, in a race to see 3D movies at home, have crushed ice appear from the fridge door, or put your hand-wash only delicates in the machine, we throw out the old and try to have the latest and greatest in our homes. This of course generates electrical waste when we upgrade and is why the problem continues to get bigger.
The Main Culprit
However, there is one item that by far and away is changed most often. This, of course, is your mobile phone. With repair costs often outweighing the price of the phone, it’s easier to simply buy a new one if it breaks. Even if it isn’t broken, we’re still inclined to replace it. Every 12-24 months you’re likely to want a new one, with retailers releasing the latest models and upgrades around every 6 months your handset soon becomes outdated. There are always fantastic deals available for not only minutes, messages and data – but the latest handsets. Whilst it’s great to have access to such good value deals, it can mean you quickly end up with a pile of old phones gathering dust in the corner.
Fortunately, this is now a thing of the past as some retailers now have WEEE approval and are authorised to properly dispose of your old phone, free of charge. To find out what WEEE approved retailers are doing to help check out this guide.
Protecting The Environment
When electrical and electronic equipment reach landfill the results can be catastrophic for the environment and the local wildlife. With the amount of glass, metal and chemicals used in the production of all of our favourite gadgets, they are some of the worsts thing to throw into landfill.
Content supplied by Phone Shop for Sainsbury’s.