Certification gives IT recycling drive a boost

Computer recycling company RDC last week announced it had become the first company of its type to achieve British Standards...

Computer recycling company RDC last week announced it had become the first company of its type to achieve British Standards Institute accreditation across its business worldwide.

RDC, part of Computacenter, specialises in computer reuse and recycling. The company last week said it had earned the BSI's Integrated Management System certificate. This incorporates the quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001) and health and safety (OHSAS 18001) certificates.

The certification assures users that a supplier can meet its business risks and legal obligations over the reuse and recycling of computers. RDC's certification guarantees that its IT recycling operation is fully compliant with UK and European Union legislation, and exceeds forthcoming legal requirements on recycling electronic equipment, it said.

Under the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, computer manufacturers and resellers will be responsible for the collection and disposal of all electronic waste, including computer hardware.

The legislation has set targets of 75% of all IT equipment being recovered and 65% of it being recycled, although these targets do not have to be met until the end of 2006.

During the first quarter of 2005, producers of electronic equipment will be required to register in preparation for August 2005 when they will become responsible, along with resellers, for the take-back of electronic goods.

Although the burden for recycling will fall primarily on suppliers, IT directors cannot afford to wash their hands of the problem of recycling IT hardware. Details of penalties for ignoring the WEEE Directive have yet to be agreed, but it is thought there could be sentences of up to two years' imprisonment if producers, resellers or user organisations are found to have disposed of equipment negligently.

A survey published by Dell in September found that only 11% of UK businesses thought that disposing of IT waste in an environmentally-friendly way was important.

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