Thursday, August 15, 2013

That was the Weee that was

It’s that man Terry again, this time shaming me for not posting about Weee Week which was a couple of weeks ago. Weee stands for Waste electronic and electrical equipment and Waste Watch were having a campaign to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle Weee items instead of just throwing them away. There are regulations now about the safe disposal of these items so they should not go to landfill.

Nevertheless, there do seem to be some problems with at least the interpretation of the regulations and Elf ‘n Safety surrounding the reuse of such items. Here’s Terry:
I'm a member of the Vintage Radio and Television forum and a subject that crops up from time to time goes something like this:
A charity gets the contents of a house clearance which contains electronic equipment. However, it is not worth their while going through all the legal hoops regarding electrical safety to make it suitable for resale, so it goes to landfill for disposal. (Ed's correction)
Some of this stuff is a goldmine to enthusiasts who restore old - even pre war - radios and TVs. Furthermore, some of these items are of historical, significance and would benefit from being exhibited at the British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum or one of several others round the country.
So an enthusiast goes to his local charity shop and offers to buy the old radio or TV that is being unloaded from a van. As soon as they say 'buy', of course, a big legal problem rears its head, as I described above. But how about the charity giving the item away? They will still benefit because otherwise they will have to pay for its disposal. No doubt they will also receive a donation from the grateful enthusiast, which puts them in a win, win situation.
However, as you can probably guess, the answer is usually no!
So the question is: are there any guidelines, suggestions or whatever which would encourage this form of recycling?
I believe the proper term is 'Correct Disposal' and it has been suggested that the WEEE Directive has, as of this month, enhanced to specifically encourage re-use.
Some people seem to be lucky negotiating with local managers but this seems rare - then they are replaced and the new one says no anyway!
I've suggesting contacting the charities themselves to see if there is a national policy which includes or could be amended to include something useful but I wondered if you had any bright ideas on the subject ...?
We have emailed our contact at Waste Watch for some advice and will let you know.

Meanwhile in the IT department


  1. Directive? Aren't that lot simply taking the weee?

  2. I give all my electrical items to the British Heart Foundation, Furniture and Electrical Store, 100 Cranbrook Rd, Ilford. They even collect for free!

  3. I make my own bread using a breadmaker and am on my third machine. The first two had to be replaced because a small washer about the size of my fingernail wore out and, in spite of all his efforts, my husband was unable to find a replacement. That meant that the whole machine - case, pan, electrics, flex, plug - had to be thrown away. I find this so irritating that when the current machine expires, probably for the same reason, I will not replace it. It is not, of course, in manufacturers' interests to supply replacement parts for anything, but to ditch a large machine for the sake of a washer is verging on criminal.

    1. I am willing to wager that there are hundreds of said washers in Men's sheds up and down the country.
      The contents of Men's sheds are an as yet untapped resource that could repair a broken nation, but unfortunately there is no profit in it.

    2. I suspect most of the sheds in these parts are those with beds. The only washers they'll have are of they electric variety for washing clothes - not the sort you have in mind.