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Electronics Production | April 19, 2006

WEEE, WEEE, WEEE all the way to eBay

Repeated delays in the implementation of the WEEE Regulations by the government have been welcomed by UK organisations, according to a recent survey into their preparedness.
The new directive which was due to come into force this year and may now be delayed to 2008, will ensure that used computer equipment and other electronic devices are recycled or disposed of in line with EU guidelines. However, only 1 in 5 companies surveyed(i) had considered the implications of WEEE, demonstrating low levels of understanding about the regulations and therefore, low levels of current compliance. The survey concludes that UK businesses do not currently have the infrastructure in place to cope with the impending regulations.

One organisation that has taken steps to address the regulations is Henley Management College. Phil O'Neill, Director of Operations confirms, "We have applied for and received a Hazardous Waste Registration Number to deal with our disposals in line with the directives. And if a device is in working order it is donated to a local charity or school." However, they are amongst the minority, and another respondent to the survey suggested that eBay might well be the 'best' way to get rid of obsolete IT equipment - in the name of recycling, of course.
But companies who handle IT waste cannot depend on the world's largest car boot sale to dispose of obsolete IT equipment - appropriate processes and tools need to be in place to avoid prison sentences and fines. Processes defined by the IT Infrastructure Library's (ITIL) approach already take care of the replacement and disposal of IT assets, but companies still need to implement these systems and procedures to manage their IT equipment legally.
There is still much work to be done on both sides of the fence, both by government and UK businesses to get ready for the WEEE regulations. In the meantime, IT management should take a close look at the legislation, and conduct a technical audit to determine what equipment might be affected by the directives, and at what point in their lifecycle they might be affected.

To help with this process the HelpDesk and IT Support show to be held at Olympia from 25th to 27th April 2006 will be covering the implication of these new directives, and topics such as managing your IT assets legally. Register for free entry to the show at www.helpdeskshow.com.

(i)The survey was conducted by Andrew Smith, and commissioned by HDI and Hornbill Systems Ltd. It surveyed 330 IT professionals with an interest in IT Service Management. The results of the survey have been published in a paper entitled 'Configuration Management - The Facts' which is available at the HelpDesk and IT Support Show, Olympia from 25th to 27th April 2006, on the HDI and Hornbill stands.

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