WEEE Recycling in International Law

The advances in technology over the past few decades have been remarkable. They have certainly made life easier in terms of communication and productivity. Every aspect of our lives have been touched in one way or another. However, this has proven to be a double-edged sword in that rapid advancements meant that machines quickly became obsolete. Almost every year, a better version would come out in the market and inspire purchases. The old would be disposed in favour of the new. The problem is that they contain hazardous substances that could harm the environment. Special precautions have to be taken.

Extra information about weee collection


what is weee?


This acronym stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. It includes discarded computers, television sets, refrigerators, printers, faxes, mobile phones, entertainment devices, air conditioners, and the like. They are dangerous they contain substances like beryllium, lead, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants which are known to cause illness. The environmental impact can also be catastrophic if they aren't handled well. Workers who are tasked with their disposal and recycling should be properly trained to reduce their risk of developing a health problem down the road. Otherwise, unwanted chemicals might get into their system through skin contact or inhalation.


There is an ever-increasing amount of e-waste in the world because of our appetite for the latest and greatest. Tons are discarded by household and offices every year. It doesn't help that manufacturers generally plan for the obsolescence of their products to ensure continued sales year after year. There are initiatives that may lower the figures such as better product design but these require more time to fully develop. As for now, the world will have to deal with the 50 tons of e-waste that society produces annually. Among these are millions of computer systems and mobile phones.


What Laws Govern weee collection?


There are various laws enacted in different parts of the world to guarantee the safety of the public and the worker handling e-waste. One of them is the weee Directive which applies to the European community. It contains targets for the collection, recovery and recycling of these materials. A certain number of kilograms per head in the population should be the minimum for recycling every given year. There's also the Restriction of Hazardous Substances or rohs Directive which sets ceilings on the material content of new electronic devices that are sold on the market. They will not be permitted on store shelves if they fail to make the cut.


In the US, every state has the right to pass its own laws regarding this matter. For example, California passed the Electronic Waste Recycling Act in 2003 in an effort to lower the use of some hazardous substances that are sold within its boundaries. This is in effect similar to the RoHS directive. Given its size and consumer spending power, California could compel manufacturers to comply with the law if they wanted a foothold the lucrative market. This is also important because a lot of tech giants have headquarters within the state.