“Only one in eight SMEs are aware of WEEE legislation, which is worrying given that electrical waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the UK today,” says Richard Martin, programme manager at NetRegs, the body that represents the UK’s environmental regulators.
Netregs recently carried out a survey which showed that only 12 per cent of SMEs are familiar with the WEEE regulations introduced in January 2007. These regulations state that electronic and electrical producers are now responsible for the collection and recycling of all of their equipment purchased since August 2005.
“These regulations can help SMEs dispose of their electrical waste products sustainably – in many cases, at no cost,” explains Martin.
In addition to the unnecessary effort and avoidable waste charges, SMEs that are still paying to send their electrical waste to landfill are also damaging their green credentials – crucial to business competitiveness today.
And given that SMEs are responsible for generating 60 per cent of all commercial waste in England and Wales, it seems surprising that that they have been so slow on the uptake regarding this piece of legislation.
But as Martin explains: “Many sectors wrongly believe that WEEE is only relevant to businesses in the electrical sector. In fact, if you use a computer, a photocopier, or even have a microwave in your staff kitchen, you need to be aware of what WEEE means for you.”
To read more about the WEEE regulations and all other relevant environmental regulations, go to www.netregs.gov.uk.
For related stories, see SMEs walk First Mile to greener businesses