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What is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive?

A trip to the local tip will show you just how much electrical and electronic stuff we throw away. Each year, in the UK, we are throwing away around 1 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste!

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force in 2007 aiming to improve recycling and recovering rates and reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfill. The law requires producers to pay for the collection, treatment and recovery of waste electrical equipment. It also means that retailers, including those on the Internet, must take back WEEE from householders free of charge. The only exception to this is if the retailer is part of Distributor Takeback Scheme created, as an alternative to in-store take back for retailers and other distributors who have joined. This network is based mainly on the existing network of local authority civic amenity sites.

What items are included in WEEE?

Fridges, washing machines, dishwashers and other kitchen appliances, TVs, computers, mobile phones, games consoles, vacuum cleaners, electrical and electronic tools. Any product that features the wheelie bin with a cross through it and that includes some light bulbs.

How can you find out where to recycle old appliances?

When you buy a new appliance check with the retailer if they have a free collection service, if not they should be giving you information on where to recycle it. Recycle Now has a useful postcode locator to find local recycling centres that accept waste electricals. It is important for the environment to recycle old electrical and electronic products as they can contain valuable raw materials.

For more information visit the Governments Environmental Management website.

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