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WEEE directive meets UK law

Miya Knights

Science minister Malcom Wicks yesterday put regulations before parliament designed to support the incoming European waste disposal laws.

The regulations include a timetable to upgrade local waste collection and disposal facilities and a deadline for electrical retailers and manufacturers to sign up to the approved disposal schemes.

But organisations’ IT departments will also have to factor the cost of disposal into the cost of buying computing equipment from now on, according to a Gartner analyst.

Producers of electrical goods will be required to meet the environmental costs of dealing with waste products under new rules published today, under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive. Gartner analyst Lars Mieritz said most IT departments will look to IT supplier partners to dispose of equipment at the end of its life.

“Now the IT manager must keep in the back of his mind costs he or she might not have thought of yet,” Mieritz told Computer Weekly.

“It could be that the cost of disposal is offset by the [second-hand] cost of the equipment being disposed of, or is factored into the cost of equipment up front.”

The legislation puts the onus on all companies who import, manufacture and rebrand electrical and electronic equipment to finance its treatment, recovery and environmentally safe disposal.

Wicks said, “Some responsible producers are already factoring the cost of recycling their product into the design process and recognise that caring about what happens to the goods they sell needn’t cost the earth.”

And Mieritz agreed most big IT companies would already have approved disposal schemes in place.

The legislation means that by 15 March 2007 producers will need to join an approved producer compliance scheme to ensure that they are able to comply with the directive from 1 July 2007.
 
Mieritz said the legislation has made it easier for organisations to opt in to one of the many schemes being established than to go it alone and cover the cost of such compliance alone.

Gartner estimates as many as 512 million PCs will be disposed of worldwide in the next five years.


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