“Didn’t we pay disposal charges when we bought our computer? Isn’t the producer or distributor of the computer responsible for proper, environmentally-friendly disposal of old computers?”
We understand why our clients occasionally ask us this question , but what’s really the deal?
Let’s get straight to the point…
This has already been organised in a completely different way from all other electrical devices: No disposal charges on computers!
A disposal charge is a surcharge on the purchase price of many products; it is meant to ensure that these products are properly recycled at the end of their working lives. This system is currently in place in most countries in the EU. This system ensures that when a new electrical device is bought, the buyer can return his old device to the seller or retailer. The latter ensures that the device finds its way to the correct destination where it can be properly recycled.
Together with a foundation, the producers and distributors have jointly set up a system whereby this material is collected, bulked and then recycled.
Computers and computer equipment are not regulated in this way. This is partly because many computers are composite devices, with innumerable brands and brand names, so it is often impossible to determine where a device originated.
However, the seller of a new computer is obliged to accept the old device, which is then directed towards recycling thanks to the efforts of the ‘Wecycle’ foundation.
In addition, individuals in the Netherlands can still dump their old computers and computer equipment at the local municipal recycling centre without charge. The recycling centre then ensures that these unwanted computers eventually end up at a recycling company. At least, that is how things are supposed to happen. In the past, however, scandals arose when computers from Dutch individuals were dumped in the municipal recycling centre but ended up on a mountain in Nigeria. Let’s just hope that these were mere incidents, and that things are better organised now. An individual can dump up to 7 pieces of computer equipment at the local recycling centre.
For companies, the situation is very different. They are not permitted to use the local municipal recycling centre and must shoulder the responsibility for proper disposal of their e-waste themselves.
Otherwise, they can try and trade in their old device every time when they buy a new computer. However, we see in practice that computer suppliers in the Netherlands are not all that interested and would rather look the other way.
Conclusion of this tale: No disposal charges on computers – individuals can go to the municipal recycling centre, but businesses have to shoulder the responsibility for the proper and environmentally-friendly disposal of their e-waste themselves.
And that isn’t always easy, if you stop to think that that even our own government lets little kids in Nigeria dismantle a mountain of old computers!
The best you can do as a company is to use a reliable service provider.