A guide to helping businesses recycle electronic waste

Nearly every business up and down the country will have at least one old, outdated computer stashed away in a dark cupboard. Usually, they get pushed aside with the intention of sorting them at a later date, but ultimately end up forgotten.

However, sorting out such electronic waste is incredibly important. Estimates generated by Statista suggest that a staggering 50 million tonnes of WEEE will be created this year alone globally, and this number is set to increase year on year.

[https://www.statista.com/statistics/499891/projection-ewaste-generation-worldwide/]

However, some countries are seeing great improvements in terms of recycling. In the UK, for example, almost half (45%) of all WEEE is now recycled, which is impressive when compared to other countries such as India, which recycles only around 25%.

[https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/20/electronic-recycling-e-waste-2017-gadgets]

Of course, while this is fairly positive, it is also clear that there is much work to be done. So, if you’re looking to get rid of those old computers, hard drives or keyboards that are currently pushed to the back of a cupboard, here’s what to think about.

WEEE waste

WEEE waste is any piece of electronic equipment that has a plug attached to it, or can be powered by inserting batteries. The need to recycle this type of electronic waste has been part of UK law for over 15 years, and encourages business and individuals to discard old laptops, telephones and kettles efficiently. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, especially if the electronic waste is just thrown in with general household or office rubbish.

[https://asset-care.uk/news/data-destruction-in-2018-what-you-need-to-know/]

Why is recycling important?

Electronic items contain numerous things that need to be carefully recycled, lest they end up polluting land or waterways. Most modern electronics – from phones to laptops and smartwatches to modems – contain any number of chemicals or materials that would be dangerous if not disposed of properly – lead, mercury, and various types of plastic, for example.

When it comes to enhancing the UK’s recycling rate, we all have a role to play. If you’ve been putting off recycling or donating your old electronics, make it a priority today.