What is WEEE or Electronic Waste?
WEEE stands for Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment. Think batteries, mobile phones, laptops, computers, keyboards, fridges, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, games consoles, tumble dryers and kettles. Basically, anything with electronic components that require a plug or a battery to power it —including its cables —needs somewhere to go when it's made redundant (or inevitably breaks).
Discarding electrical items is not as simple as throwing them in the bin. Many electrical and electronic equipment and appliances can cause serious health threats if they are not disposed of properly. They contain chemicals and substances that, if thrown into landfill, risk escaping and polluting us, as well as our planet.
That's why electronic items recycling is the best way to remove your old items, thus clearing space for that shiny new computer.
Why is E-Waste a problem?
In 2021, 57.4 million metric tonnes of e-waste (electronic waste) was generated around the world. This is a new record.
The Global E-Waste Monitor predicts that by 2030, e-waste will reach 74 million metric tonnes.
Every tonne of WEEE waste is responsible for emitting around 2 tonnes of CO2
E-waste generation releases toxic substances including mercury, a chemical that is proven to damage the human brain and nervous system.
In 2021, only around 20% of unwanted electricals were documented as being collected and recycled.
It's the law. In the UK, you could be prosecuted if you don't get your e-waste properly disposed of and fail to comply with WEEE regulations.
Recycling electronic equipment will not only give you peace of mind, but it'll save dangerous chemicals from damaging the environment and the people who live in it. Oh, and they can be made into new materials and products. It's a no-brainer!
Can you put electrical items in the recycle bin?
Most old electronics contain precious metals and toxic chemicals cased within the metal, including lithium-ion & cathode ray tubes, as well as other materials making recycling electronic goods difficult.
To recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment, a specialist recycling stream is needed. Check where your nearest recycling centre is with the local authorities or recycle your old electronic devices with First Mile. We offer a dedicated WEEE recycling service, we take repairing old tech to give it a new lease of life or recycling and disposing of them safely, sending nothing to landfill.
How to recycle E-Waste properly
Recycling e-waste properly involves a multi-step process that aims to recover valuable materials and prevent hazardous substances from harming the environment.
At The First Mile, we prioritize secure IT collection, ensuring data privacy while facilitating the recycling process.
Our secure environment guarantees that your sensitive information remains tamperproof throughout the data wiping process. This method not only offers security but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices.
How to dispose of electronic waste
Disposing of electronic waste involves making choices that align with environmental sustainability. Rather than dismantling devices haphazardly, which risks damaging components that could otherwise be reused, consider opting for responsible IT collection services.
The benefits are twofold: safeguarding your data and minimizing your carbon footprint. Every laptop or computer that is responsibly reused can save up to 36 cubic meters of water and reduce CO2 emissions by 40 kilograms.
How businesses dispose of electronic waste
Businesses have a responsibility to recycle their unwanted electronics. With offices, shops and warehouses constantly replacing and upgrading their technology and appliances, it's not good enough to simply throw your e-waste into landfill.
We understand that this responsibility can feel overwhelming, so that's why we make it as easy as possible for you to recycle your electronics. We have a fool-proof, step-by-step process that ensures your waste is reused and repurposed. And, even better, if your old electronics still have value, we'll give you cash for it.
Set up a WEEE Collection with First Mile
We'll send one of our drivers to collect your unwanted or broken electronics devices for free. We use carbon-neutral trucks, so even our delivery methods have as little impact on the environment as possible. We'll pick up the following items:
Wires, cables and plugs
IT and telecommunications equipment
We have dedicated streams for toners and cartridges, fluorescent tubes or batteries. Please see our other services if you want to recycle these.
What happens once it's collected?
We'll take your electronic waste to our award-winning sorting factory, The Sacktory. Here, we sort your items and prepare them for the next stage of their journey.
We refurbish some of the electricals on site, giving them a new lease of life as affordable reused alternatives to expensive technology.
Everything we collect is fully wiped and customers receive a full audit trail and comprehensive report on what happened to their waste. Data wiping of any modern computer occurs in an isolated, secure environment, and operatives have no way of accessing your information at any time during the process. It’s completely tamperproof.
WEEE waste is sent to our partner, SWEEEP
We take them to a specialist WEEE (waste electronic and electronic equipment) recycling partner, SWEEEP. Here, they use a complex system of conveyor belts shredders and magnets to to process the WEEE waste.
The WEEE is then divided into categories, shredded again, divided again, shredded two more times before being divided into different bins using magnets.
They use AI cameras to identify threats such as batteries.
The facility sorts and shreds around 10 tonnes of WEEE waste every day.
WEEE electronics are recycled into new materials
The shredded WEEE waste is then sent to refineries and other partners to be recycled into new materials such as paint and concrete to create new roads.
Electronic Recycling in the Workplace
As a business, you want to stay at the top of your industry and, for many organisations, this means keeping on ahead of the new technology. Whether that's a set of new super-fast laptops for your employees, a new luxury kettle for the staff room or a glitzy new coffee machine for your café, it's understandable that you don't want to be left behind.
If you're a business owner or you're responsible for dealing with the waste that your company produces, then it's time to put electronics recycling into practice. By making an active effort to recycle your old equipment, you won't just be doing your part for the environment, but you'll be setting a good example to your employees and your fellow business associates.
Why not go that extra step and be an environmental leader in your industry? Educate both your staff and your customers by showing them how you deal with your electronic waste. By minimising the effect that your technology and appliances have on the environment, it will show that your company cares about the future and is prepared to go that extra mile.
At work, make sure to implement a clear and easy recycling system that signposts where and how your employees should discard their old equipment. Each department head will need to understand the importance of recycling to ensure the whole organisation can become a slick and effective recycling machine. We have lots of useful resources such as guides and posters that you can pin up in your workplace that'll keep recycling at the forefront of your employee's minds.
Click here to browse our posters.
Recycle your WEEE Waste with First Mile
Not only will we collect your e-waste for free, but we provide a ‘zero to landfill' policy which means absolutely nothing gets thrown in the bin. There's enough rubbish that gets discarded on a regular basis — don't let your old electronics provide fuel for the problem.
By First Mile