Beware of Cowboy Traders

Waste Disposal

Computer recycling firm PC Disposals’ Managing Director Tim Hayden, concurred with Computer Aid’s call on the government to clamp down on cowboy traders exporting waste to Africa and other developing countries. Demand for electronic waste in Africa is still high and a recent check revealed that 500 containers full of e-waste arrive in Lagos, Nigeria every month. The dumping of e-waste into the African markets causes more harm than good as a result of environmental pollution and attendant health implications.

“The knock on effect of the WEEE directive is that in the last two years over 100 additional firms have come onto the UK market reporting that they can provide WEEE compliant services, when in truth not all of these do” said Tim Hayden. “It’s a constant uphill struggle of ours to convince potential customers of the pitfalls of using un-licensed computer recyclers”.

The law states that when anyone is throwing away old computers they are immediately deemed as waste and as such there are legal procedures set out to follow. The Environment Agency issues the following licences to IT recycling companies:-

  • Waste Carriers Licence – For the transfer of one site to another
  • Waste Management Licence or Environmental Permit – For the site receiving and handling the waste
  • AATF or ATF – For the site handling the final waste process

The Environment Agency also states that every step must have a clear paper chain in the form of Waste Transfer Notes. Businesses in the UK that are still using un-licensed traders run the risk of their equipment ending up on a landfill site in Africa with all their data and asset tags still on them.

If you have received a quote from a recycler who does not have all of the above accreditations then you run the risk of prosecution if you choose to use them. Duty of care rests with the original producer of the waste. Many Councils and PCTs have fallen foul of cowboy traders as, especially with the current economic climate, financial issues are usually the main concern. You can read about these here

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