Understanding PC Disposal Directives in the UK

October 28, 2010

If you are a business owner, the WEEE Directive in the UK requires proper PC disposal when your computer is due for replacement. The easiest way to ensure you meet the requirements of the directive is to use an Environment Agency licensed waste carrier. They can recycle or dispose of your IT equipment, office equipment, old appliances and any other electrical or electronic devices in the appropriate way.

Why is proper PC disposal necessary?

  • The reason proper PC disposal is necessary is to keep toxic chemicals and poisonous substances out of landfills.
  • This keeps these substances from contaminating the water sources and the soil.
  • When you consider there can be more than 100 poisonous substances in the average PC, proper PC disposal requirements make sense.

Other advantages of proper PC disposal

For one thing, your PC might still have some useful life left in it and it is possible that some equipment can be refurbished and used by charities or poor countries that cannot afford such technology. Not only does this help those less fortunate, but it saves space in landfills too.

When you consider the popularity of electronics and the many types of equipment that contain circuit boards and batteries (which contain high amounts of lead) proper PC disposal helps to protect the environment in a responsible manner. Recycling components also allows for the recycling of the “good” metals, like copper, gold, tin and aluminium, which can be re-used.

PC disposal and confidentiality concerns

Proper PC disposal also means ensuring that the important customer data, credit cards and banking information on a business’s hard drives is dealt with responsibly. You may fall under other regulations for their safe disposal and you do not want this information to fall into the wrong hands. Even individual consumers need to be mindful of safe PC disposal because identity theft occurs more often than many people realise. Do not think that data wiping is easy to achieve on your own because there are a number of steps to be taken. In addition, breaking your hard drive into pieces does not necessarily mean your data is safely destroyed. In fact, pieces must be smaller than 1cm  for this to be the case.

When you use a licensed e waste disposal company that is trained in proper data wiping and asset tracking to dispose of your PCs, you can choose to receive a certificate of destruction and an audit trail to protect you from liability. There are cases where shredding the hard drive may be necessary, although as there is demand for hard drives that are 80 GB and more, recycling is preferred, but it is dependent on the situation. Recycling can mean breaking your PC down into components that will provide you an audit trail and still allow some of the good parts to be re-used.

By using a licensed electronic waste disposal company you can be in compliance with WEEE Directives and help the environment or those less fortunate through responsible PC disposal that allows for proper recycling of your computer or office equipment.