Electronic and electrical equipment is one of the main types of waste that UK and European policymakers are aiming to stop being sent to landfill. This led to the introduction of legislation placing obligations on businesses that produce and distribute equipment, as well as those dealing with the waste electrical and electronic equipment.
The legislation presents opportunities if your business is looking to start recycling and reprocessing WEEE, or increasing the amount of WEEE that you handle. The four methods for recycling electrical products are:
- equipment dismantling - manually separating reusable components
- mechanical recycling - removing plastic and ferrous material after granulating and shredding
- incineration and refining - recovering metal after combustible material has been incinerated
- chemical recycling - removing precious metals such as gold and silver from printed circuit boards
If you intend to use these or new and innovative methods, you should speak to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to check whether they need to regulate your business using a permit or exemption. You can also make sure they are satisfied with any environmental impacts your processes may have. For more information, contact the NIEA Helpline on Tel 0845 302 0008.
You should also look into the market conditions for any recycled materials that you are going to produce.