Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do Business Leaches See Opportunity?

Here WEEE go again

David Galton-Fenzi explains the IT waste directive and what it may mean for the channel
David Galton-Fenzi, CRN 10 Sep 2008

The green datacentre has become something of a cause célèbre in the media. However, much of what has been written examines more effective management of power and space in the datacentre while saying little about what to do about IT waste.

Electrical and electronic waste are the fastest growing waste streams in the UK. Around 1.8 million tonnes are generated every year. Electronic waste can be a valuable source for secondary raw materials but if not treated properly can become a major source of toxins and carcinogens.

Rapid technology change, low initial cost and planned obsolescence has resulted in a fast growing problem around the globe.

In Europe, 2003’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, along with the related Directive on Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), agreed to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of IT waste going to landfill.

Equipment covered by WEEE includes:
• Mainframes
• Minicomputers
• Printers
• Personal computers
• Laptop computers
• Notebook computers
• Notepad computers
• Printers
• Copying equipment
• Electrical and electronic typewriters
• Pocket and desk calculators
• User terminals and systems
• Facsimile
• Telephones
• Upgrades

Exemptions from WEEE include:
• Consumables for EEE, such as printer cartridges (unless included in a printer)
• Components that are not finished products and placed on the market as individual items
• Sub assemblies such as:
• Populated mother boards
• Graphics cards

Producers – defined as anyone who manufactures, re-brands or imports Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) – are being made responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment.

Also, distributors – defined as anyone who sells EEE to end users, no matter how it is sold, including retailers, wholesalers, mail order and internet sellers – must allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.

WEEE entered into force in the UK on 2 January 2007, with amendments applying since 1 January 2008.

For waste equipment purchased before 13 August 2005, the end user is responsible for disposal, unless they are buying replacement products, in which case the producer supplying the new equipment will have these responsibilities.

For equipment put on the market after 13 August 2005, the producer supplying that equipment will have to take responsibility, unless both parties negotiate alternative arrangements.

This last sentence is important for the reseller because the ‘distributor’ has no obligation to take back WEEE from business users to meet the requirements of the directive. The distributor obligation is only to consumers.

However, this leaves businesses with a challenge. What do they do about IT waste? They can’t just toss it in a skip.

Businesses must either return each individual piece of equipment to the ‘producer’ – the original manufacturer or importer – or look for a service which will take it away and guarantee compliant disposal.

This is where the opportunity lies for the reseller who can become that trusted disposal point and charge for the service.

David Galton-Fenzi is group sales director at Zycko


roma said...

Money makes the world go round,
but i'd rather see a greener pound.

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