New waste laws target IT kit

IT managers will soon have to grapple with new hazardous waste regulations on the handling and disposal of computer equipment, including monitors and some PCs.

IT managers will soon have to grapple with new hazardous waste regulations on the handling and disposal of computer equipment, including monitors and some PCs.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), companies may find themselves open to prosecution if they fail to comply with new waste acceptance criteria which come into force on 16 July.

The regulations will overlap with a European directive on recycling electronic and electrical equipment waste, which is due to be incorporated into UK law between August 2005 and January 2006.

A Defra spokeswoman said, “The most important thing for managers working with IT equipment is that the list of materials considered hazardous is expanding – things like computer monitors, fluorescent tubes and televisions are going to be considered hazardous – partly due to heavy metals in the circuit boards.

"It could apply to PCs and interiors but it is hard to generalise on this. These have to be handled, stored and disposed of in keeping with legislation on hazardous waste – and may need to involve specialists.

“IT managers should first contact their waste contractor to get some tailored advice on how they need to handle their waste. Smaller businesses may be able to register an exemption. There are lots of people on standby waiting to give business managers advice, but we need to see businesses being proactive and finding out.”

The European waste directive and the hazardous waste regulations are complementary, according to the spokeswoman.

“The directive acknowledges that electronic equipment needs specialist handling and disposal. Hazardous waste covers a much broader range of materials,” she said.

For more information on waste regulations, visit:

www.esauk.org/

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/newrulesonwaste

www.hazardouswaste.org.uk

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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