Waste Electrical and Electronic
What is WEEE?
WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic
A law was introduced in July 2007 which means that
the responsibility for disposal of electrical equipment
was put with the manufacturer of electrical and
Why do we need to recycle it?
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
Regulations came into force in January 2007 and aims to reduce the
amount of this waste going to landfill and improve recovery and
Electrical and electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream
in the UK. Around 1 million tonnes are generated every year.
Items such as kitchen appliances, mobile phones, computers, TV’s,
electrical and electronic tools can all be either recycled or reused.
Effects of WEEE on the environment
Electrical items contain a range of materials that can be separated
for recycling and used in new products, such as plastics and
precious metals including gold and copper.
All this saves resources and energy. If electrical items end up in
landfill, hazardous substances will leak out and cause soil and later
contamination – harming wildlife and even human health.
More waste facts
average, each person in the UK buys three new electrical items each year or
173 million nationally.
every 7kg of small electricals bought last year - the average amount per
person - only a fraction (1.3kg) was sent to be recycled
no need to bin items – you can drop them off at your local recycling
electricals is environmentally friendly – unwanted electricals and
electronics can be recycled and contain really valuable raw materials. For
example, one iron contains enough steel to produce 13 steel cans.
retailers offer free recycling schemes or take back options.
How can we recycle it?
Once items are taken to a recycling site the following takes place:
magnets remove ferrous metals, such as steel
non metallic metals are removed by using electronic currents
is sorted into types by using various methods such as:
–near infrared light; and
What items can be recycled?
Hover mowers contain:
Strong ABS plastic that can be used for light, rigid, moulded products such as musical
instruments, cases, pipe fittings and car bumpers
Copper motors that can be turned into copper pipe, coins in some currencies, jewellery, wire
and as winding wire for motors in new electronic products (fridges, vacuums, tools, toys,
motors etc.) Copper can be mixed with zinc to make brass, or with tin to make bronze.
Games consoles contain:
Steel that can be used for computer casings, car parts and beams, circuit boards, which have a
range of precious metals including gold, silver, platinum and palladium; platinum and palladium
are used in catalytic converters and mobile phones…and jewellery
Mobile phones contain:
Precious metals (like gold, platinum and palladium), a variety of which can be recycled into
component plating and low voltage electrical contacts; palladium plays a key role in the
technology used for fuel cells. Zinc which is used to galvanise steel; it can also be mixed with
copper to make brass. Ships and submarines use zinc blocks to stop rust forming.
On average, each person in the UK buys three new electrical
items each year.
There’s no need to bin items – you can drop them off at your local
Recycling electricals is environmentally friendly. For example, one
iron contains enough steel to produce 13 steel cans.
Some retailers offer free recycling schemes or take back options.
Ask your local retailer for more information.
What can be done in school?
Schools can take part in a WEEE collection scheme
Schools can have a free collection on site that will be collected the
This can include waste from the school, pupils and the community.
WEEE Waste Collected
The waste that can be collected includes:
Keyboards and mice