Although there are a variety of licenses available to collect, store and offer limited processing of WEEE, ideally, in order to fully comply, always look for a company that has a full waste management permit in place incorporating AATF status (Approved Authorised Treatment Facility). Sites that have both of these in place have undergone the most stringent audit processes by the Environment Agency.
WEEE is WASTE and cannot be recycled for free by any legitimate recycler unless it meets specific criteria such as large quantities of up-to-date re-useable equipment. Always look at the age of the equipment, and ask yourself “would I have this at home or in my office?”
There may be a certain demand for very old equipment in underdeveloped countries, however, please be aware, that it is illegal to ship electronic waste outside of developed countries.
Most Third World Countries have absolutely no recycling infrastructure in place and therefore, the majority of waste would simply be sent to an open-land area where locals would burn the materials to extract precious metals. When electronic waste is simply burnt, highly toxic ozone depleting chemicals and gases are released in to the atmosphere. Furthermore, the chemicals are hazardous to health and are highly carcinogenic. When inhaled on a regular basis, they lead to serious diseases and cause death to plant life, animals and humans.
To top this off , Unfortunately, many “shifty” suppliers will not actually destroy your data, despite promises to do so. Your data will be sold on in places such as Ghana or Nigeria and later be used to commit identity fraud. This, unfortunately is a Multi-Million Pound trade that ultimately funds terrorist groups in Africa and middle- Eastern countries.
Most schools have a more stringent requirement for up to date equipment than any other entity. They are required to educate children to current ICT levels. The majority of equipment collected from schools for recycling is in fact usually less than 5 years old. It is highly unlikely that these “charities” are indeed donating this equipment to schools.
Basically, whether you choose WEEE-Stop or somebody else, we urge you not to fall in to the trap of giving your equipment to an unethical or illegal company. We recommend that you carry out full duty of care, check references and carry out a site visit. Usually, if you have concerns about the legitimacy of the company, then you are probably right.
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