WEEE includes anything that uses a battery or has a plug. It primarily covers temperature exchange equipment, screens, lamps, large equipment, small equipment and small IT equipment. Some examples are listed below:
- Temperature exchange equipment – Fridges, freezers, etc.
- Screens – Televisions, monitors, etc.
- Lamps – Fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), etc.
- Large equipment – Washing machines, ovens, etc.
- Small equipment – Kettles, toasters, etc.
- Small IT equipment – Desktop computers, printers, etc.
Safety concerns Associated with WEEE
Some key safety concerns associated with WEEE are as follows:
- WEEE is sometimes heavy and could pose an injury risk if it were to fall or if it is lifted incorrectly.
- WEEE could have sharp edges which could give rise to injury.
- Removal of WEEE or components thereof from collection sites could bring about a number of safety issues and should be avoided.
- Refrigerant media typically found in fridges, freezers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, etc. could leak from the appliance if damaged and cause skin or eye irritation as a result of direct contact with the rapidly evaporating refrigerant. There is also a risk of the formation of harmful atmospheres where temperature exchange equipment is stored in an enclosed space.
A number of precautions should be taken when storing or accessing the storage location for WEEE:
- Ensure that there is safe access to the stored waste. It should not be necessary to climb over or around stored waste.
- WEEE should adequately be secured against intruders.
- All WEEE should be stored on a flat, hard, impermeable surface and weather-proofed as appropriate.
- Where WEEE is stacked, this should be done carefully making sure that the stacked material will not collapse or fall.
- Suitable PPE should be used when handling all WEEE and in particular when handling temperature exchange equipment. Care should be taken to avoid direct contact with refrigerant media.
- Temperature exchange equipment such as fridges, freezers, etc. should be stored in a well ventilated area to minimise the risk of the formation of harmful atmospheres.
Recharge has produced some good guidance on lithium batteries in the form of a lithium-ion battery fact sheet. It is available here.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has produced some guidance on the storage of hazardous household waste. It can be found here.
Further information is available upon request from firstname.lastname@example.org