Press Release Ref : 4477
Press Release - Tue, 13 Dec 2011

WEEE wish you a merry Christmas

Mobile phones, mp3 players, digital cameras, computers, TVs, battery-operated toys - all are likely to figure in wish lists this Christmas.

As a large proportion of those shiny, new gadgets will be replacing yesterday's model, the question facing their owners is what to do with the old one, which, in many cases, remains viable.

Croydon Council's message is that, if they can't be handed to somebody else who might yet get months of enjoyment from them, they should be disposed of in a responsible manner.

With unwanted items containing valuable - and, in many cases, polluting - raw materials it is vital that as many as possible are recycled. For example, one iron contains enough steel to produce 13 steel cans.

The council is pushing for a reduction in the significant proportion that ends up in landfill, where lead and toxins contained in these items can cause soil and water contamination, and have a harmful effect on natural habitats, wildlife and human health.

Each of the council's reuse and recycling centres has clearly marked bins into which any waste electrical and electronic equipment can be dropped. The contents are then dealt with under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, which came into force in January 2007.

These regulations aim to reduce the amount of this waste going to landfill, and improve recovery and recycling rates. Electrical and electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK, with about a million tonnes being generated every year.

The amount of electronic waste that we throw away is increasing by around 5% each year, making it the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Therefore, a national "WEEE Recycle" campaign has been set up to prevent this growth and to ensure that more unwanted or waste electronic items are either reused or recycled.

Councillor Phil Thomas, cabinet member for environment and highways, said: "More waste is produced at Christmas than at any other time of year - and the proportion of electrical and electronic waste is also far higher.

"The components of old electrical and electronic goods have an intrinsic value from a recycling point of view, a value that can be extracted and put to good use - whether it's the metals used in a casing, or a chip from a computer.

"Croydon's taken great steps over the past few years in increasing the volume of goods we recycle - and cutting the amount we send to landfill - and the correct disposal of WEEE goods will be a great help as we strive to further improve our recycling statistics."

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