Coming to Terms with E-waste

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Fraser Young, founder and MD of MF Communications says E-waste is a term that UK business as a whole is still familiarising itself with.

“But it’s not a new issue – consumers and businesses in the EU buy 9.3m tonnes of electrical gadgets a year, and discard a high proportion of that. Europe’s “e-waste” is increasing at 3-5 per cent a year – three times faster than the total waste stream.

E-waste – discarded electronic products and components – is extremely detrimental to the environment if sent to landfill. It contains a significant amount of heavy metals that can contaminate groundwater, impair air quality and cause health problems. If dealt with properly, however, it can be reclaimed or recycled for future use.

The legal framework for e-waste recycling remains strongest in Europe under the region’s stringent WEEE (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive. However, we are seeing some big corporates and carriers in the UK only slowly becoming aware that WEEE is an issue for them. The only option many businesses see is getting a recovery company to come and collect the equipment and put it directly for recycling. Companies do need to address the issue now, but the recycling route is just one way to deal with unwanted equipment.

Actually, re-use is a far greener option and companies can benefit financially from taking this route. Much of the redundant technology coming out of businesses is potentially reusable in another company if refurbished to a high standard and thoroughly tested. By selling this equipment, the previous owner not only gains an income which can be added to its ICT budget: It can rest assured that its used and refurbished products will provide other companies with urgently required telecommunication equipment at a highly reduced cost without compromising on quality while also fulfilling its obligation to the environment.”