Two major environmental issues are raised by the increasing use of electrical goods – the use of energy to produce them and operate them and also their end of life disposal. Hence the introduction of European legislation to help combat the waste problem and encourage manufacturers to design and produce longer-lasting, more energy efficient appliances. The most prominent and relevant directive for dealing with the disposal of household appliances is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and has been introduced in most European countries. In the UK it was introduced in July 2007 after many years of consultation with interested parties.

Governments are required to ensure systems are in place to collect discarded items. Producers must assume financial responsibility for the cost of recycling or disposal of their goods and for meeting targets on recovery, re-use and recycling including historical waste. Most retailers now offer collection of old appliances when replacing them with new ones. Choose a retailer who offers this service.

The products that will be affected by the WEEE directive are:

  • Large household appliances
  • Small household appliances (incl. clocks and scales etc)
  • It and telecommunication equipment
  • Brown goods - tv/hi-fi/video recorders etc
  • Lighting equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools , e/g/ drills/ lawnmowers/sewing machines
  • Toys and leisure games, e.g. train sets/ video games
  • Medical equipment systems
  • Monitoring and control equipment, e.g. thermostats, control panels
  • Automatic dispensers, e.g. drinks machines

Be sure to dispose of any of the above appliances responsibly and conscientiously, we all have a duty to minimise our waste impact on the environment. To find out where your nearest recycling centre is click here.

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