Add another item to that long list of things that sounds much easier in theory than it actually is in practice: WEEE compliance. While companies have performed beyond admirably in meeting, and often surpassing, the recycling standards set out by the WEEE directive, it’s doubtful that many compliance managers would say it’s been an easy task. Chalk one up for a full embrace of CSR (corporate social responsibility).
So what exactly is a closed-loop recycling system? After all, we know that the WEEE directive already calls for manufacturers to take responsibility for the end of an electronic product’s life cycle, not just its beginning. In the closed-loop structure proposed by WEEE Systems, the difference lies in the methods and oversight of those end-of-cycle concerns. The major change? At this time, most e-waste recycling is outsourced overseas, where manufacturers don’t really know what happens once the discarded equipment leaves port. Sometimes it is legitimately recycled, and sometimes it ends up in an illegal scrap heap. Sometimes, even worse, broken and out-of-date equipment can end up in towns or villages, creating potentially hazardous health situations: leaking chemicals, fire hazards, and the like.
WEEE Systems will have a domestic facility that not only recycles obsolete parts, but also gives manufacturers the opportunity to reuse or repurpose this equipment, greatly increasing cost efficiency. The capper is that as initial partners, manufacturers will have a financial stake in WEEE Systems’ recycling facility, further bolstering its chances of success.
Any attempt at even greater accountability than that already assumed by manufacturers is a good thing, and WEEE Systems seems to be aiming to make it as simple as possible. We look forward to learning more about their progress, and remain committed to e-waste compliance with our own products.