The scary facts about Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and what you can do about it

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) waste

Have you put a phone upgrade on your Christmas list this year or are you thinking about a major office clear out in January? If so, spare a thought for the unwanted phone and IT equipment and make sure it is decommissioned and recycled in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly way.

Ecojam recenty caught up with Simon Crisp from Green Machine Computers to find out about our WEEE waste problem and what we can do about it.

Green Machine work hard to help our planet. They recycle tonnes of IT WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) each month, diverting it away from landfill. The company also provides much-needed apprenticeships, training and employment.

They aim to collect as much unwanted IT equipment as possible (at low to no cost) from businesses and organisations across the UK, refurbishing it for reuse, adding years to its usability and lifecycle and recycling reusable materials. They focus on repairing laptops, desktop computers and servers, training people to fix this equipment and enabling them to get qualifications by doing so.

They help companies, large corporates, charities, schools and centres of learning to release valuable classroom and office space from this obsolete equipment. By operating a zero landfill policy, they aim to reduce the carbon footprint of any establishment or individual with whom they work. They also help those they work with to be more green – by repairing, refurbishing, reusing and redistributing IT equipment, as well as by conserving scarce resources and minimising pollution by green disposal of non-reusable items. 

Why is WEEE Waste such a huge environmental problem?

It is a scary fact that electronic waste (WEEE waste) is currently the fastest growing waste stream. 5 years ago the world disposed of around 20 million tonnes of electronic waste in a year. Last year the world produced another 50 million tonnes of it.

We live in a throwaway society where many of us replace mobile phones annually and laptops and other IT equipment every other year. Currently, only 12.5% of this WEEE waste is recycled. This means over 40 million tonnes ends up in landfill annually. This causes pollution but it also means the loss of scarce materials and a waste of value.

A lot of what is labelled as WEEE waste is not “waste” at all, but whole pieces of electronic equipment or parts which are readily marketable for reuse or alternatively, IT equipment which can easily be recycled for materials recovery.

On average, every 273 laptops that we recycle saves the energy equivalent of running one home for a year – so on a global scale recycling one million laptops could save the energy equivalent of running over 3,660 homes in a year!

How else does recycling WEEE waste help the environment?

Incredibly, making one new desktop computer and monitor uses over 240kgs of fossil fuel, 21kgs of chemicals (including rare non-renewable elements), and 1.5 tonnes of fresh water. This equates to just one household computer consuming resources equivalent in weight to a family car.

So, every device which Green Machine Computers refurbishes and passes on for reuse, or recycles, saves the environment a huge amount of energy, materials and pollution.

So what can you do with unwanted IT equipment?

Green Machine Computers is always on the lookout for any surplus or redundant IT equipment you may have which is taking up valuable space in your offices, storerooms, classrooms, containers, cupboards and warehouses.

They collect equipment along the M4 corridor with the majority of their clients being in Bristol or London. They have completed projects for Land Securities, Whsmith, and most recently Bupa.

They take all tech related items including: Laptops, Desktops, Towers, Servers, Tablets, Phones, Mobile Phones, UPS, Printers, Scanners, Screens, Keyboards, Mice, Switches, Routers, parts of computers and components and a varied range of other items. If in doubt just ask.

How to get in touch with Green Machine Computers

Call them on 01672 520133 or email to arrange a collection.

All the IT equipment collected is audited, data wiped, repaired and refurbished to a high standard.

They hold certification with the Environment Agency and Microsoft, and they have accreditation with ISO 9001 Quality Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Services.