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British businesses are unprepared for costs and consequences of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. The forthcoming legislation aims to regulate how businesses reuse, reclaim, recycle and dispose of surplus electronic equipment.

As the final consultation paper from the DTI came out last week as a survey showed widespread ignorance about the directive. Over a third (37 per cent) of the 250 businesses quizzed by technology firm Brother still haven’t even heard of the directive. Half of those polled had had no idea what the implications of the stricter recycling rules might be for their company.

Britain’s IT buyers are predicting that they will have to help pay for new EU legislation on recycling IT equipment – despite Government plans for manufacturers to pick up the tab. Brother’s "Green Business" research revealed that while 92 per cent of the IT buyers surveyed agreed that more should be done to reduce the massive IT landfill mountain, most businesses expect the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive to add to their IT bill by only 10 per cent.

Said Mike Dinsdale, Marketing Director of Brother UK: "While the legislation will make manufacturers responsible for the costs of recycling their own electrical and electronic waste, there are also implications for IT buyers. Many companies have stockpiles of old IT equipment and they will be responsible for disposing of the waste which vendors won’t take back – potentially with heavy costs for companies failing to plan ahead.

"With the directive coming into effect this month but the final consultation paper not expected until September, it’s worrying to see Britain’s businesses aren’t fully aware of the implications of WEEE – and the potential cost it could mean to their businesses. IT managers should be putting strategies in place now," he added. ®

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