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Why is E-waste Such a Problem?

Why is E-waste Such a Problem?

The recent publicity devoted to the awareness of carbon footprints, global warming and the amount of plastic being dumped in our oceans means that there is a growing movement towards people recognising they need to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

However, vast amounts of waste electronic and electrical equipment is still being created around the world. The World Economic Forum has estimated that 48.5 million tonnes of WEEE waste was dumped across the globe in 2018, and says it is one of the planet’s fastest growing types of refuse.

Here WEEE Technology, who specialise in the disposal of computer equipment and other electronic devices in London, look at why the disposing of mobiles, laptops and PCs is still a big issue.

There’s a Lot of it About

The world’s population has been estimated at more than 7.5 billion in 2019 – and around two-thirds of the population have access to a mobile device, usually a phone. In the UK, where the population is around 65 million, seven out of every 10 people own a smartphone.

So, bearing in mind that these statistics do not include PCs, laptops and TVs, this means that there is a massive amount of electronic devices out there. All of these will eventually need to be disposed of.

Technological Advances – and Built-in Obsolescence

The average lifespan of a smartphone has been estimated at around 2.5 years, and tablets around 6.5 years. This may be in part down to accidents, with owners damaging their devices so badly they can’t be repaired.

However, technological changes also mean people prefer to replace their electronic equipment with the newer, faster version, even if their existing device is still working adequately. More controversially, some companies have been accused of introducing ‘built-in obsolescence’ into their products, such as no longer providing automatic operating system (OS) updates or ceasing technical support for older models or programs. This obviously has an impact on the number of electronic items which go to waste.

The ‘Throwaway Culture’

The so-called ‘throwaway culture’, which also applies to clothing and other household goods, means that consumers are more likely to buy a new product rather than try to repair an older one. Manufacturers and retail outlets will also encourage customers to ‘upgrade’ to a new device with tempting offers, free electronic equipment or limited-edition models.

With mobile devices rapidly becoming more technologically advanced, many people do not have the technical expertise to repair their device when it goes wrong. Often the cost of repair is so high that it makes more sense to buy a new replacement product instead.  

Greater Awareness of Health Problems

Another reason why WEEE disposal is still a big issue is because there is a much greater awareness of the health risks involved. Many electronic devices release toxic materials even if they end up in landfill – either seeping into groundwater or into the atmosphere.

Changes in the Law

As so much of our lives are now stored electronically on hard drives, so the need for protect that information has increased. The General Data Protection Regulations give consumers rights over the way their personal details are handled and disposed of.

If companies who handle personal data don’t dispose of it correctly then they run the risk of data breaches, consumer scams and identity theft. WEEE Technology specialise in secure data erasure for companies across London, making sure no unauthorised individuals can gain access to the equipment and hard drives are overwritten several times.

How WEEE Technology Can Help You

As well as data erasure, WEEE Technology offer a range of other services when it comes to electronic devices. We always try to repair and refurbish old products, and if this is not possible, we aim to harvest the raw materials for reuse rather then send them to a landfill site.

If you would like to learn more about how we dispose of computer equipment and other electronic devices in London, then follow this link and fill in the online form, or call us on 020 7859 4669.

Key Legislation which Affects the Disposal of Electronic Equipment

Key Legislation which Affects the Disposal of Electronic Equipment

Greater awareness of the damage that can be done to the environment by not disposing of our waste properly, plus the greater reliance on computers to store our personal information, makes IT equipment recycling one of the world’s fastest-growing areas of legislation.

WEEE Technology specialise in the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment.  Here we look at some of the most important pieces of legislation which we must comply with – and some of our additional accreditations which mean that you can be sure we will deal with any of your waste legally, ethically and responsibly. 

The WEEE Directive

This was introduced by the UK’s Environment Agency in 2002, in a bid to cut back on the amount of electrical goods which were ending up in landfill sites. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive applies to all firms who either make, sell, import or regularly dispose of any of these types of goods. Now, all companies have a responsibility to reuse or recycle any discarded items before they end up as waste.

The WEEE directive has been updated regularly ever since and has also become part of European law. It is applied in partnership with the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, whose principal role is to check on the material content of manufactured electronic goods.

Before this legislation came into effect, a lot of old computers and laptops ended up in landfill sites. This caused health risks to people handling the items or living close to the waste area because most electrical equipment contains chemicals or materials which are potentially harmful.

GDPR and The Data Protection Act

In the UK, The Data Protection Act (DPA) was introduced in 1995 and was aimed at protecting personal data which was stored on paper as well as on computers. It meant individuals had a right to see the details that third parties, such as private businesses, held about them, and to have it corrected if it was inaccurate or destroyed if it was no longer required.

The Data Protection Act was updated in 2018 to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which covers the whole of Europe and it is designed to give people even more safeguards in a world where so much of our personal life and details are stored online.

GDPR also defines personal data as online identification markers and location data, and there are other key differences from the old DPA as well. Companies who handle personal information are now required by law to offer clear privacy notices to customers, and any security breaches must be reported within 72 hours. There are also much stiffer penalties for failing to comply with the law.

How This Affects WEEE Technology

As WEEE Technology are involved in a lot of computer equipment recycling, we are extremely careful to ensure we comply with all the legislation relating to personal data erasure. A large proportion of the items we handle contains sensitive information, such as bank details or corporate data which the companies involved do not want to see made public or passed on to their competitors.

We make sure that there is no unauthorised access to any of the equipment we handle by overwriting any hard drives multiple times. Our software is recognised by both the Commercial Product Scheme and the National Cyber Security Centre. For a full list of all the standards we meet or use in this area, go to our data erasure page.

Our Other Accreditations

WEEE Technology are officially accredited by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for our data protection legislation, which allows us to hold and process personal information. We also hold a Waste Carrier’s Licence, and a T11 Waste Exemption Licence, both of which are issued by the Environment Agency.

WEEE Disposal from WEEE Technology

We ensure that we completely comply with all the WEEE disposal regulations for all companies in London, including the WEEE Directive and all the legislation relating to data erasure. If you would like to learn more about our range of services, or want to dispose of some old computer equipment ethically and responsibly, follow this link and fill in the online form, or call us on 020 7859 4669.

Greater awareness of the damage that can be done to the environment by not disposing of our waste properly, plus the greater reliance on computers to store our personal information, makes IT equipment recycling one of the world’s fastest-growing areas of legislation.

WEEE Technology specialise in the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment.  Here we look at some of the most important pieces of legislation which we must comply with – and some of our additional accreditations which mean that you can be sure we will deal with any of your waste legally, ethically and responsibly. 

The WEEE Directive

This was introduced by the UK’s Environment Agency in 2002, in a bid to cut back on the amount of electrical goods which were ending up in landfill sites. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive applies to all firms who either make, sell, import or regularly dispose of any of these types of goods. Now, all companies have a responsibility to reuse or recycle any discarded items before they end up as waste.

The WEEE directive has been updated regularly ever since and has also become part of European law. It is applied in partnership with the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, whose principal role is to check on the material content of manufactured electronic goods.

Before this legislation came into effect, a lot of old computers and laptops ended up in landfill sites. This caused health risks to people handling the items or living close to the waste area because most electrical equipment contains chemicals or materials which are potentially harmful.

GDPR and The Data Protection Act

In the UK, The Data Protection Act (DPA) was introduced in 1995 and was aimed at protecting personal data which was stored on paper as well as on computers. It meant individuals had a right to see the details that third parties, such as private businesses, held about them, and to have it corrected if it was inaccurate or destroyed if it was no longer required.

The Data Protection Act was updated in 2018 to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which covers the whole of Europe and it is designed to give people even more safeguards in a world where so much of our personal life and details are stored online.

GDPR also defines personal data as online identification markers and location data, and there are other key differences from the old DPA as well. Companies who handle personal information are now required by law to offer clear privacy notices to customers, and any security breaches must be reported within 72 hours. There are also much stiffer penalties for failing to comply with the law.

How This Affects WEEE Technology

As WEEE Technology are involved in a lot of computer equipment recycling, we are extremely careful to ensure we comply with all the legislation relating to personal data erasure. A large proportion of the items we handle contains sensitive information, such as bank details or corporate data which the companies involved do not want to see made public or passed on to their competitors.

We make sure that there is no unauthorised access to any of the equipment we handle by overwriting any hard drives multiple times. Our software is recognised by both the Commercial Product Scheme and the National Cyber Security Centre. For a full list of all the standards we meet or use in this area, go to our data erasure page.

Our Other Accreditations

WEEE Technology are officially accredited by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for our data protection legislation, which allows us to hold and process personal information. We also hold a Waste Carrier’s Licence, and a T11 Waste Exemption Licence, both of which are issued by the Environment Agency.

WEEE Disposal from WEEE Technology

We ensure that we completely comply with all the WEEE disposal regulations for all companies in London, including the WEEE Directive and all the legislation relating to data erasure. If you would like to learn more about our range of services, or want to dispose of some old computer equipment ethically and responsibly, follow this link and fill in the online form, or call us on 020 7859 4669.

4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Dispose of Its Computers Properly

4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Dispose of Its Computers Properly

The problem of computer disposal is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world. High-tech equipment will break down or be superseded by new, more advanced products, meaning that there is a vast mountain of laptops, computers and phones which need to be disposed of every year.

At WEEE Technology, we are specialists in IT Asset Disposition (ITAD). Here we look at 4 key reasons why it is important to make sure that businesses look for environmentally-friendly solutions to this issue.

You Need to Protect Employees and Customers

Nowadays people have more rights over the security of their personal information, thanks to a tightening-up of the regulations across the world. These rights were first enshrined in the Data Protection Act of 1998, and then updated in the General Data Protection Regulations of 2018.

This means that when businesses are involved in any computer disposal you need to be sure that any data stored on it will be destroyed or erased. Given the growth in the use of PCs and laptops in recent years, the need for responsible computer recycling has increased dramatically.

You Need to Protect Your Business

If you don’t do this, then your company could suffer financially, as the authorities are cracking down on anyone who fails to obey the law. In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office can fine businesses up to 4% of their annual global turnover, if they are found to be in breach of the GDPR legislation, as well as imposing a temporary or permanent ban on any data processing activities your company is involved in.

Businesses also need to comply with the requirements of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which first became European law in 2003 and was updated in 2006 and 2009. Failure to follow this could result in fines of up to £5,000 at a magistrates’ court, and unlimited financial penalties at crown court, although companies are more likely to receive a warning letter or a reprimand first.

There also the issue of reputational damage. Businesses become less attractive to customers and potential new employees if they have been found to be in breach of the law, and this becomes public knowledge.

It’s Harmful to Human Health

Many modern, high-tech products contain potentially harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury or arsenic.

These toxins can contaminate the soil, the atmosphere and nearby water sources if the products are not disposed of properly.

You Will Be Helping the Planet

There are several long-term benefits for the planet if you use a responsible company like WEEE Technology for your computer disposal. Our work puts an emphasis on a greater reuse of materials, as old equipment is repaired or refurbished, and made available for resale, helping to protect the world’s scarce resources.

If reuse is not possible, then we aim to recycle the equipment, or recover the raw materials such as metals which can be put to an alternative use. Although these approaches may involve some reprocessing, they are still greener alternatives than sending the equipment to a landfill site.

Computer Disposal from WEEE Tech

WEEE Technology will help you with all your IT Asset Disposition requirements. We also make sure you are fully compliant with Data Protection law, as we destroy or erase any data contained on computer hard drives. machines and we issue a Certificate of Destruction using software approved by the UK government in ensuring that all data is securely and safely destroyed

If you would like to learn more about our services, follow this link and  fill in the online form or call us 020 7859 4669.