Recycling is a huge topic. Everyone is talking about 'going green', 'recycling', and ‘preserving the planet'. We are all trying to do our bit for the environment both at home and in the office. At GBC, we have been recycling and re-using printer and copier paper for a while now as well as making a conscious effort to switch off PCs, printers, lights and any other equipment which may waste electricity. But what about the disposal of electronic equipment like PCs and printers - do you ever wonder what happens to them when your office decides to get rid of it?
If not disposed of correctly, they end up in a landfill somewhere which has a huge negative effect on the environment. Many studies have shown that old printers contain materials that can make their way into the water system. In turn, this ends up causing a number of different problems for the environment.
A year after the introduction of the WEEE Directive (Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment), the UK now has a nationwide collection and recycling network with 1556 collection sites. Electronic equipment manufacturers as well as retailers are obliged under the regulations to take end-of-life items back or inform consumers of local disposal facilities.
Late last year, on a cold December's day, I visited one of these local disposal and recycling facilities that Toshiba uses, to see for myself how electronic equipment such as printers, copiers and PCs is recycled. To see the recycling in process for yourself, please click here.
Huge corporate printers are shredded into small materials around 100mm in size, before being separated into re-usable materials, such as iron, steel, copper, glass, plastic and aluminium. Most of the material recycled can is sold on or re-used following the process. While vendors such as printer manufacturers are taking the WEEE directly very seriously, UK consumers are also being encouraged to recycle their unwanted electrical and electronic equipment, in a bid to reduce waste going to landfill.
So.. next time you are replacing your mobile phone, home PC, fridge or flat screen TV, consider asking your local authority or retailer on how to do your WEEE bit on recycling.