Background

As environmental practice and legislation has developed, the need for ethical and sustainable use of resources has increased. This extends to the Information Technology (IT) industry where producers, including Dell, have been working to reduce environmental impact through their design for environment programmes [1]. These programmes ensure that all aspects and impacts of the product design, manufacture and lifetime are evenly dis-tributed and aid in re-use and recovery.

The WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) [2] requires that �priority should be given to the re-use of WEEE and its components.� and only recognises re-use as counting towards obligations if it has first been declared as WEEE. Traditionally the re-use industry collects and treats the items as functional product, unless required otherwise by circumstances, with product entering the waste stream as and where determined by functional or cosmetic condition.

Conclusions

  • Business users should take active interest in the end of life process their equipment will pass through ensuring the operational and environmental integrity of the service pro-vider.
  • All equipment should be classed as product until deemed to be non-functional and thus waste. This will avoid burdensome waste management requirements and reduce costs.
  • All re-use activities should be focused on:
    • Whole unit re-use before the item enters the waste stream
    • Parts and component re-use taking place within the waste stream
  • Parts and components should be used where appropriate to extend useful equipment life.
  • All re-use of whole units should count to-wards individual producer obligations under the WEEE Directive.
  • Any re-use of WEEE should not place addi-tional burden on producers.
  • All environmental aspects and impacts should be taken into consideration before re-using product.
  • Consideration should be given to the poten-tial legal risk of re-using equipment arising from civic amenity/municipal collection sites by ensuring due diligence with the destruc-tion of data contained on hard drives.