Waste Management Licensing and RegulationsEnvironment agency WEEE page:-

The following paragraph, from the section on Handling & Transport, is taken from a document produced by the Department of Trade and Industry, called Unwanted computer equipment, A guide to re-use, which can be purchased from the DTI :- http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/2007

The UK interpretation of the EC waste framework Directive is that if a substance or object continues to be used for its original purpose, even after minor repair or refurbishment, then it is not waste. Consequently, [*** the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive does not apply when passing on computers for re-use. 

(The sentence in Italics was added added by PC Recycler) ***]

vehicles transporting refurbishable items to refurbishment premises do not need to be registered as a waste carrier. Refurbishment premises where the principle function is the refurbishment of computers would not generally be considered to be a waste recovery operation. It follows that a refurbisher not carrying out a waste disposal or waste recovery operation would not need to inform the Environment Agency or SEPA of their activities. If a refurbisher cannot refurbish a machine, and sends that machine for recycling, then the refurbisher would not need to be licenced.

Waste handler

Although the PC Recycler project is a Reuse project, designed to extract maximum use from working IT equipment, PC Recycler is a licenced waste carrier/Broker/Dealer, and our sites/workshops are registered with the appropriate authorities. 

Details available to potential suppliers on request.

The dispersal of waste argument

In contrast with many home appliances, life cycle energy use of a computer is dominated by production (80%) as opposed to operation (20%). Extension of usable lifespan (e.g. by reselling or upgrading) is thus a promising approach to mitigating energy impacts, as well as other environmental burdens associated with manufacturing and disposal. 

Since the year 2000, PC Recycler has worked in conjunction with a company which disposes of Electronic waste in an environmentally friendly manner. Environmental disposal was one of our primary aims at setup, and predates WEEE by several years. In order to avoid the dispersal of waste, each item of equipment supplied by PC Recycler carries a sticker with contact details, and the following statement, "In the event of failure, please return this equipment for environmentally friendly disposal, and request a free replacement".

With this scheme, we extend the useful life of the computers, as suggested in the above DTI guide, and enable environmentally friendly disposal in line with the WEEE directive, when the equipment reaches "end of life".

WEEE update:
From 28 September 2011, you must declare on your waste transfer note or hazardous waste consignment note that you have applied the waste management hierarchy. What this means is that you must first attempt to re-use the 'waste' which is exactly what we have been doing with computers since 1998. WEEE is starting to catch up at last. If you can not re-use, you work your way down the hierarchy until you reach a step that you can apply.

More details on the waste hierarchy