UK businesses are being charged £50 million over the odds to have their electronic waste disposed of, because e-waste regulations fail to consider the value of raw materials that can be reclaimed from tech trash. While businesses and consumers alike are increasing participating in recycling, this is yet to extend to WEEE. Indeed, a recent report by a UK national paper unveiled how Britons are throwing away money by binning 17 million gadgets worth £762 million every year, instead of taking them to a recycling centre.
With the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recast becoming effective in the UK from February 14 2013, the government is set to gain significant new powers to assist businesses and consumers to dispose of e-waste in an environmentally responsible fashion, while also increasing penalties for firms found to be illegally exporting e-waste.
Meanwhile new packaging recycling targets for the period 2013 to 2017 have been passed which will see the target for recycling materials such as plastic, glass and metals increase by 2017. The packaging regulations are designed to meet and exceed the minimum 60 per cent recovery target set by the European Union Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 2009. In 2010, the UK achieved a 67.3 per cent recovery and recycling rate, and by 2017 this must reach 72.7 per cent according to the new regulations.
The entire package of targets is estimated to bring a net benefit of £181 million to the UK economy over the period 2013 to 2017. Most of the anticipated benefits, over 95 per cent, will come from revenue generated from recycled materials. This presents an opportunity for businesses to foresee the long term benefits the new directives will bring. By helping drive greater recycling rates amongst target audiences – both consumer and trade – businesses can ensure more material is captured for recycling.