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Are new Standards really going to keep old PCs out of Landfill?

The new PAS 141 specification, which will come by the end of March 2011 from BSI, turns WEEE waste into re-usable kit.

This new standard will create formal quality test for re-used equipment, creating a “re-used” label, which can be applied to re-usable equipment. These standards are required for safe and confident reuse.

Everybody has to bear in mind that Re-using IT equipment is a lot better than sending it to landfill. We reduce energy consume and prime material’s consume, we are making a clear step forward to maintain clean our planet and our atmosphere.

But Re-Used IT equipment needs to be safe. The PAS 141 specification has been worked with what used to be the WEEE advisory Board (WAB) since at least 2009.

WAB which, as it seems, continues to meet, chose a “publicly available specification” (PAS) instead of a more formal British Standard (BS), with the aim of getting it into circulation as quick as possible and “to fulfil an immediate need in industry. A PAS may be considered for further development as a British Standard, or constitute part of the UK input into the development of a European or International Standard.. “

This means that it is able to address widely-criticized problems in the implementation of the EU’s WEEE directive, which is intended to keep electrical equipment out of the waste stream.
The PAS does an important job, it defines REEE (Re-used Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and includes data destruction in the test it specifies. This way companies putting equipment into the REEE market can be secure. End user buying that equipment can trust they are getting a safe, workable system, which can be supported.
As defined in the WEEE (2002/96/EU):
“UEEE is EEE that has been put into service and used but has subsequently been taken out of service and not yet discarded as waste (see 3.1.12).”
PAS 141 defines:

Reuse EEE (REEE) is equipment that has been prepared for reuse to produce equipment and/or components that are electrically safe and functionally operational as originally intended.

All this needs to bring along a change in business culture. If we think about the European Union waste hierarchy, commonly referred to as “reduce, reuse, recycle”, seems like the middle word: “reuse” has been forgotten in the last years.