Zero running cost 100% green energy producing instant heat? Isn’t this what we’d all like? It doesn’t matter what side of the debate you’re on this is one solution for two problems and the compensation is a lifetime of free heating for you, your children and grandchildren. Energy companies do not like this at all!
The EU WEEE Directive has been reviewed or in EU speak “recast”. In the UK, the Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) have just concluded a consultation on their proposals to transpose the Recast WEEE Directive into UK laws. The BIS proposals contains several changes that will be of interest to computer users: -
1. Local Authorities free to arrange recycling – BIS are proposing WEEE collected at civic amenity sites or WEEE Designated Collection Facilities (DCFs) can be processed to generate recycling funds for local authorities. Whereas this is attractive for LA’s, there is a concern as data bearing equipment may be sold with no restrictions.
2. Track B2B not just B2C – The original WEEE Directive focused on tracking private household WEEE; the recast identifies the need to track all WEEE, including business-to-business (B2B) WEEE. This will create a new administrative obligation for many businesses but RDC already does this via our purpose designed asset tracking database.
3. Increased recycling rates – Currently IT WEEE is targeted to achieve 65% by weight recycling with a further 10% reuse or energy to waste recovery making a total 75% removal from the waste stream target. Under the WEEE Recast this is set to increase to 85% by weight. Whereas some organisations may struggle to achieve this, RDC already report 100% reuse, recycling and recovery with zero disposals to landfill.
4. Standard for testing of items for re-use Concerns about continued illegal export of WEEE disguised as being “for re-use” has led to Article 6 of the recast WEEE Directive calling for a European standard to cover the testing of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment (UEEEE & WEEE) to verify items are for re-use or recycling.
RDC are already operating to such a standard – the UK specification PAS 141:2011 is a world first in setting requirements for processes preparing UEEE & WEEE for re-use. RDC are in the process of being certified to PAS 141 and expect certification by end July 2013, enabling equipment for re-use to bear the PAS 141 mark to reassure users in the UK and environment agencies looking at equipment for export that it has been tested for safety and functionality. RDC’s Gary Griffiths led the BIS & BSI working groups that developed PAS 141.
What is hazardous waste? The environment agency state wastes will fall into one of three categories, those that are:
Always hazardousfor example, lead acid batteries or fluorescent tubes.
Never hazardousfor example edible oil
May, or may not, be hazardous and need to be assessedfor example, ink or paint
Their website (www.environment-agency.gov.uk) is focused on trade and regulations, however the following table maybe useful to determine if your waste should be treated as hazardous.
“Explosive”: substances and preparations which may explode under the effect of flame or which are more
sensitive to shocks or friction than dinitrobenzene.
“Oxidizing”: substances and preparations which exhibit highly exothermic reactions when in contact with
other substances, particularly flammable substances.
- liquid substances and preparations having a flash point below 21°C (including extremely flammable
- substances and preparations which may become hot and finally catch fire in contact with air at ambient
temperature without any application of energy, or
- solid substances and preparations which may readily catch fire after brief contact with a source of
ignition and which continue to burn or be consumed after removal of the source of ignition, or
- gaseous substances and preparations which are flammable in air at normal pressure, or
- substances and preparations which, in contact with water or damp air, evolve highly flammable gases in
“Flammable”: liquid substances and preparations having a flash point equal to or greater than 21°C and
less than or equal to 55°C.
“Irritant”: non-corrosive substances and preparations which, through immediate, prolonged or repeated
contact with the skin or mucous membrane, can cause inflammation.
“Harmful”: substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the skin,
may involve limited health risks.
“Toxic”: substances and preparations (including very toxic substances and preparations) which, if they are
inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the skin, may involve serious, acute or chronic health risks and
“Carcinogenic”: substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the
skin, may induce cancer or increase its incidence.
“Corrosive”: substances and preparations which may destroy living tissue on contact.
“Infectious”: substances and preparations containing viable micro-organisms or their toxins which are
known or reliably believed to cause disease in man or other living organisms.
“Toxic for reproduction”: substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they
penetrate the skin, may induce non-hereditary congenital malformations or increase their incidence.
“Mutagenic”: substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the
skin, may induce hereditary genetic defects or increase their incidence.
Waste which releases toxic or very toxic gases in contact with water, air or an acid.
“Sensitizing”: substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or if they penetrate the skin, are
capable of eliciting a reaction of hypersensitization such that on further exposure to the substance or
preparation, characteristic adverse effects are produced. [As far as testing methods are available].
“Ecotoxic”: waste which presents or may present immediate or delayed risks for one or more sectors of
Waste capable by any means, after disposal, of yielding another substance, e.g. a leachate, which
possesses any of the characteristics above.
RDC have released the following new video describing the services offered from their Braintee, Essex premises.
RDC, the world’s largest waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE), IT Disposal and refurbishment centre, provide an interesting glimpse of the inner workings of the company and take you on a whistle-stop tour of the warehouses and production areas. See the toughest security, safety and operational standards in action to protect data and the environment and find out how Reuse, Reduce and Recycle are employed in the processing of IT Equipment.
Mr Gerry Hackett, RDC’s Managing Director, explains how RDC ensures customers comply with all legal and regulatory obligations when managing used equipment. Watch case studies from the Environment Agency, BT and Microsoft as they talk about the benefits of choosing RDC and how they have saved money and improved their recycling process.
Window panes are a pane-in-the-glass if you will excuse the pun. It’s dangerous, difficult to transport and cannot be recycled with other glass items such as bottles and jars.
The cost of replacing glass panes is expensive but the majority is for labour and handling. Thus resale value is negligible and there is little immediate or obvious assistance for getting rid of it.
Contact your local authority to find out how they handle pane and plate glass recycling. Most authorities will have a community recycling centre that will accept it, your only task to find a safe way to transport it which will vary on it’s size.
Avoid heroic attempts to reduce it’s size with a hammer. Take all possible precautions. Make sure you wear appropriate protection, thick gloves, industrial glasses, leave no part of your body unprotected and ensure no one else is nearby. Cover the glass with tarpaulin completely to reduce the risk of flying shards.
DIY stores sell glass cutters for under £5 which can be used for more accurate and safer breaks. The following video snippet demonstrates how to use them:
Chris Pook, head of the Green Economy Team at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, joined RDC the UK’s leading IT disposal company, for the launch of PAS 141, the new reuse standard for electrical equipment.
Mr Pook told the audience it was an appropriate time to launch the PAS 141 standard because government is currently focused on economic growth and jobs. Vince Cable, Mr Pook’s boss, is interested in business strategy and his department is working with all business sectors across the economy to find the real opportunities and barriers to growth and to do something about it.
The UK waste sector is valued at 13 billion pounds per annum and is forecast to grow 3 to 4 percent per year. It is a pattern seen across a range of low carbon and environmental goods and services. The one thing they share in common is strong growth at a time when the economy is struggling.
“It is very clear the reuse, the processing, the transport and the management of electrical waste is a key part of the green economy and in fact a lot of the work going on in government at the moment is looking at how we can create a more sustainable economy. You would have heard of the circular economy and how that works and how we can be more efficient and make better use of end of life products.” He said.
A key part of industry development is not just technological innovation but the standards required to underpin the business. If you give business a solid platform on which to innovate and develop new business models and new sectors of the economy you have to have a clear set of standards and principles which companies across the economy can work towards.
This is not important just to manage rogue companies and people who take a loose approach to the regulations but it is extremely important to those companies who are trying to do things properly and who are generating the growth exploiting the opportunities we see emerging.
The UK has a good story to tell on this subject. The overall levels of waste going to landfill have nearly halved since 2000 and household recycling rates have climbed 40% and a 29% decline in the levels of waste generated by business. Overall business recycling rates are above 50%.
We also need to look at the critical supply of raw materials which has become a key issue over recent years. Particularly as the electronics industry has come to realise how dependent it is on the supply of rare earth metals and minerals.
“I spent the last five years in Tokyo as the science counsellor and certainly this was a major issue for Japanese companies, and incidentally Japan has one of the strongest recycling and reuse rates in the world.
PAS 141 will provide reassurance to consumers and to the collectors of discarded products that all items sent to accredited operators will be properly tested which is essential if we are to build this market and if we are to exploit overseas markets.
I have a huge amount of sympathy regarding previous speakers comments on access to places such as Brazil, India and maintaining access to Africa. We have to make sure what we are doing is legal and that it is accepted and understood in our export markets that this is a valid and viable source of electrical equipment.” Said Mr Pook.
Mat Crocker, Head of Illegals & Waste at the Environment Agency
Mat Crocker, Head of Illegals & Waste at the Environment Agency, introduces his department.
“The combination of illegals and waste into one department is because we are serious about tackling organised crime which undercuts legitimate business and impacts investment plans.”
PAS 141 will help differentiate legitimate exports from illegal exports of WEEE under the guise of being sent abroad for reuse. The international Correspondents Guidelines agreed under the Basel Convention call for a “test” to differentiate between reuse and the illegal exports of waste – but they fail to specify what ‘test’ is required. PAS 141 sets out the tests to fill this gap and will be used by the UK Environment Agencies to focus efforts on stopping illegal exports
Mr Crocker recognises the industry led effort in creating PAS 141 and explains the chief benefits to his department are the provision of another tool for the combat of illegal waste and the contribution to the reuse of waste materials.
“You will have seen the heart rending pictures and stories highlighted by NGO’s such as Greenpeace and others that talk about the real human and environmental consequences that happen, and it really is a terrible thing.
It’s unacceptable on every level that this situation should happen. With PAS 141 we have something to help us deal with this. We have been put under pressure as a regulator to do something about this and actually we have put pressure on ourselves to get something done.
But it’s not something we can do by ourselves, it’s a partnership between us and legitimate industry and together we can do everything we can to stop it from happening.”
Mr Crocker explained the difficulties faced by the Environment Agency. “As a trading nation we have millions of containers arriving each year and we cannot inspect each one, therefore we use intelligence led research to identify the illegal export of WEEE.”
Outlining some of the methods used by criminals to hide the illegal export of WEEE Mr Crocker expounded how the agency solicits help from industry, HMRC and border agencies to tackle the problem.
What are the Environment Agency going to do with the new PAS 141 Standard?
The agency will use it with risk profiling. Just being certified to PAS 141 standard is not a guarantee of compliance. PAS 141 will be used as an indicator along with other metrics to identify non compliance.
PAS 141 will provide a common reference for Environment Agency operators and staff to identify the type of waste; Is it waste electrical goods or is it goods being genuinely exported to another country?
Mr Crocker closes with a request for industry assistance. “If you see something that’s not quite right please contact me by phone or email. You know your industry and its intricacies far better than we can.”