Mr Green plays with his WEEE

Filed in Blog by on June 5, 2009 7 Comments
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Mr Green fondles his new electronic toy

Mr Green fondles his new electronic toy

This week, Mr Green bought himself a new Sony DVD player and monitor. That’s quite a feat; it takes us ages to make any new purchase because of the decisions involved. It’s not just about the functionality or cost any more, but about the packaging, environmental impact and WEEE recycling too.

WEEE recycling

Fortunately, we have reuse planned for both of our existing WEEE (Waste electrical and electronic equipment). The DVD player will be offered on SnaffleUp or Freecycle and the monitor is going to be used on Mr Green’s desktop.

We had good news with the packaging of the DVD player. Instead of polystyrene mouldings, this one came in recycled cardboard mouldings, just like his true boy’s toy Christmas present along with clearly marked, PE plastic bags for the cables which can be recycled at Polyprint. Yay for Sony!

Since 2007, distributors supplying new Electrical and Electronic Equipment have to ensure that WEEE from private households can be returned, free of charge, on a like for like basis. So technically, we could have taken the old DVD player back and the shop would have had to dispose of it responsibly.

Apparently, the onus is also on the distributor to inform you, as a consumer, about your duty to recycle your WEEE, what facilities are available and the meaning of the WEEE symbol.

That was all news to me!

We didn’t get a step by step on disposing of our WEEE when we bought our new electronic equipment, but there were guidelines in the instruction manual about our obligation for responsible disposal.

If you want to know more about disposing of WEEE see our electronic goods article, have some fun with Recycle Now’s Regeneration game or find out where to recycle your unwanted electrical items with the Don’t Bin It, Bring It database.

Battery recycling

After we had oohed and ahhed and unpacked the goodies we spent the next half an hour arguing about who had left the rechargeable batteries uncharged. Nothing like a dead remote control and a new toy to play with to increase frustration. We have a few batteries which hold almost no charge, but these are ideal to use in low power items such as remote controls and my bedside clock.

We keep the better batteries for hungrier items such as the camera and personal cd player. Amidst our searches, we came across two batteries which are totally defunct now, along with some other dead non-rechargeable batteries from a lifestyle-past.

Currently, less than 3% of portable batteries in the UK are recycled! However, new regulations require recycling levels to rise to 45% of batteries placed on the market by 2016. By early next year over 30,000 retailers, schools and public buildings will have a free Battery Collection Point.

Find out where your nearest battery recycling facility is and be on the ball for changes coming into play. We’ll be laying our dead batteries to rest at our nearest battery recycling bank next week.

Now all we need to argue about decide is what to do with the old computer monitor. Mr Green wants to keep it as a spare, I’m all for computer recycling. But then, life would be boring if we agreed on everything …

What about you? What are facilities like for disposing of WEEE in your area?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Reusable batteries are fine provided you prepare for the change-over when those in use lose their charge. One way to prevent power-outs is to have spares which are holding a charge, though not the full voltage. They do eventually fail like conventional types so Battery collection is required. As usual, I have a collection of both types of battery which I refuse to landfill, as part of the 5 year effort.

    Good to see another good package. The message is getting through to producers and we can add to the pressure for change by highlighting such Zero Waste alternatives.

    Locally, there is collection of spent electrical goods. Do I trust the setup? Absolutely not!

  2. We have some rechargable batteries which are used in cetrain things, I have 8 in total so there are always some spares ready to go as once dead they go straight into the recharger.

    Our biggest battery user is the Wii controllers and these seemed to need recharging after only a cuple of days, so i bought a Wii rechargable pack and docking station which plugs via usb into the PC, so this can be charging whilst the PC is on (it supposed to connect to the Wii via usb but the boys are very good at turning that off unless playing on it.)

    I’m lucky in that I can recycle all types of battery at our HWRC, so odd ones from before I purchased the rechargables can easily be correctly recycled.

  3. In theory I can also take any Weee items to HWRC as well or pay £10 for the council to collect up to 3 over big items such as fridges, settees etc which are past reuse.

  4. Deb from Boston says:

    Lucky for me Boston has Hazard Waste (ie paints, oil, tiresetc ) and electronic waste/recycling collections a few times a year throughout the city. In fact tomorrow is the day that we will be cleaning the yard and house to drop off things that don’t go into the regular weekly pick up.

    What’s included for Electronics from the City’s Web site:
    Drop off your computers, monitors, TVs, LCD panels, printers and other computer equipment, stereos, cell and other phones, power supplies, electronic games, VCRs, microwaves and other household electronics. Visit for more information.

    Many charities will also collect old cell phones for reuse.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Do you not have battery recycling facilities in your area, John?
    Our intention is always to have rechargeables charged, but it’s not always the reality!
    Unfortunately, the packaging on the monitor was not quite so good – there will be a post about that no doubt.

    @maisie dalziel: The wiii rechargeable pack and docking station sounds a good idea, Maisie. I have no idea what it is, these things go right over my head LOL! I must be getting old 😉
    Your system is the same as ours – WEEE can be taken to the local civic amenity site or the council will collect from the kerbside for £15

    @Deb from Boston: Hi Deb, it sounds like you have a good set up over there. It’s always interesting to hear how other countries deal with these things. We can all learn from one another.

  6. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: Battery, as well as many categories of waste, recycling is not available. I no longer bother with the local issue and keep all waste items at home. The space involved is minimal so I can afford to be patient. Part of recycling is trusting other agencies to act properly but that is absent, hence the importance of Reuse.

    My own recharging cycle involves charging 4 -1.5 volt cylindrical batteries, with space for 2 – 9 volt rectangular types. Usually 2 – 1.5v are used immediately, as the most urgent. Other uses are irregular and easy to accommodate. Charging is best done overnight when grid requirements are low. Spares are useful and just involves buying extra batteries. Even rechargables fail at some point.

    There is a replacement for electronic type packaging but this is HDPE type and yet to be used extensively.

  7. Its basically a place that you sit the Wii controllers in but instead of them having normal batteries in the have a rechargable unit (along similar lines to a mobile) which will recharge when the controller is in the docking station; the theory being never not having fully charged controllers to play the games with.

    have a look here

    this is what we have.

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