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95 percent of UK companies do not recycle computer equipment

July 10, 2013

ewasteWaste management company claims nearly all business computer waste in the UK is sent to landfill.

Recycling company BusinessWaste.co.uk has claimed that 95 percent of companies choose not to recycle or reuse their computer equipment, instead opting to send it to landfill; with many businesses unaware of regulations regarding the disposal of electrical and electronic equipment despite such regulations being implemented in the UK and across Europe for some time.

The company said that one of the main reasons that businesses are reluctant to recycle equipment is having concerns over data security, with Mark Hall, Commercial Director of BusinessWaste.co.uk, explaining that “nervous bosses are worried that data could fall into the wrong hands if it is sent for recycling […] scares over identity theft and corporate crime mean that they’d rather completely destroy computer goods themselves than hand it to a third party to be disposed of correctly”.

However, BusinessWaste.co.uk has assured companies that this is not the case, noting that responsible businesses would ensure that their data is completely wiped from electronic equipment, and ethical disposal services provide added security. Despite this, companies are reportedly unaware that ethical disposal facilities exist, or choose not to use them, with Hall commenting: “We’ve stood by and watched as employees set about perfectly good but ageing equipment with hammers, and they shouldn’t have to waste these resources.”

The company points out the risks of incorrectly disposing of electronic equipment, including the potentially hazardous nature of some parts of electronic waste, and the unnecessary use of energy and resources required to manufacture new equipment; with BusinessWaste.co.uk claiming that nearly a quarter of a ton of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals and a ton and a half of water needed to manufacture just one computer and monitor.

“Companies shouldn’t have to waste money, energy and resources disposing of their electronic waste incorrectly,” said Hall. “By talking to us at BusinessWaste.co.uk, we can advise on the correct and legal way forward.”

The Recycler has reported on a number of ways in which the management of e-waste is changing in the UK, including the launch of the PAS 141:2011 re-use standard for used and waste electronic products in February, and the government’s plans to hold a consultation on the country’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) system.

The Restart Project was also recently reported by The Recycler, which involves people attending Restart “parties” at various locations in the UK with broken electronic equipment to learn if and how the object(s) can be fixed and/or reused.

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