Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Press release - 18 April 2011

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) commissioned BSI to develop a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), the first in the European Union. PAS 141 provides requirements for those involved in reuse to help minimize the impact of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) on the environment and to assure consumers that any reuse electrical and electronic equipment (REEE) is fit for purpose both in terms of safety and function.

As favoured by environmental groups and encouraged by the WEEE Directive, PAS 141 aims to reduce WEEE to landfill and incineration by diverting equipment to be prepared for reuse. To assist reuse organizations, PAS 141 sets out requirements on how to manage the process of preparing used electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE) and WEEE.  As well as ensuring that any equipment is inspected and tested according to the requirements, reuse organizations will also be required to track each piece of equipment through the preparing for reuse process and keep records of all tests performed, both for reuse in the UK and, in particular, for any equipment exported from the UK.

Consumers that may be deterred from purchasing REEE due to safety and quality reasons may be provided assurance from the reuse organization that products prepared for reuse using PAS 141 are functional, are free of protected data and are backed by warranty.  As consumer confidence increases in REEE through the adoption of PAS 141, it can help contribute to the development of ‘green jobs’ in the emerging reuse sector.

PAS 141 can also help regulatory bodies differentiate between ‘bona fide’ exports - or tested safe reuse equipment - and illegal exports of waste.  This will subsequently assist in deterring the export of equipment misdescribed as being fit for reuse to developing countries that has led to dumping of large amounts of non-working and difficult to dispose of WEEE with associated problems in dealing with the hazardous elements of WEEE.

Mike Low, Director, BSI Standards comments “As the need to protect our environment increases, PAS 141 will help make this possible by ensuring the reuse of EEE is safe and functional.  The need for PAS 141 has been demonstrated by the significant interest and support it has received from industry and Government Departments in the UK, as well as the attention it has gained from other Governments and worldwide organizations.”

United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is developing scheme guidelines for accrediting certification bodies undertaking third party assessment of reuse organizations against PAS 141.

Certification bodies interested in being accredited to offer certification schemes against PAS 141 should contact David Hayward at the UKAS info@ukas.com  tel: 020 8917 8400.

Notes to editor

  • A wide range of stakeholders comprising Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances, British Retail Consortium, British Standards Institution (Healthcare & Testing Services), Chartered Institute of Wastes Management, Community Recycling Network, Environment Agency, Intellect, Mobile Takeback Forum, WEEE Advisory Body were involved in the development of PAS 141
  • PAS 141 does not cover the manufacturing of new equipment nor the recycling/other recovery or disposal of equipment (although it does include requirements for assigning WEEE for recycling/other recovery)
  • Interest in the development of PAS 141 has also come from a number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) involved in the current negotiations on a recast of the original WEEE Directive, the United Nations Organisations and other countries within the EU and further afield.