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Small businesses do not need to worry about the cost of complying with new EU rules for disposal of old hardware after all. According to one recovery firm, companies may actually end up making a profit from the WEEE Directive.

The WEEE directive (WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) makes manufacturers responsible for recycling electrical equipment at the end of its useful life. However, research from printer manufacturer Brother suggest most companies expect to shoulder some of the cost.

Maxitech.biz, a not-for-profit recycling company, says its experience suggests otherwise. In a pilot programme last year, the company found that most businesses can recover five per cent of the initial spend on IT equipment by recycling properly. Some can even do better: one company in three can actually get back more than they invested in the recycling in the first place, funnelling some cash back into the IT budget.

"While companies are beginning to increase their IT spending there is a common, but unfounded, fear that the WEEE Directive is going to eat into these budgets through administrative burdens and increased business costs of disposal of the old equipment," said Peter Paduh, MD of Maxitech.

Awareness will be key to avoiding an increase in overheads, however. "We urge businesses to put the issue on their agenda now to ensure compliant, financially beneficial disposal schemes are in place and avoid the potential high costs" Paduh concludes. ®

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