Standard to prevent illegal e-waste exports

BSI standard aims to increase reuse of waste electrical goods and ensure those exported to Africa are usable

The British Standards Institute has issued a standard for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) suitable for reuse.1

It hopes the standard, called PAS 141, will deter people from illegally exporting WEEE to the developing world.

Illegal exports are a major problem. The European Parliament recently heard that the EU exports over half its WEEE (ENDS Report, February 2011).The goods are often falsely marked as reusable.

The Environment Agency regularly prosecutes firms for illegal exports, with the most recent cases being in February (ENDS Report, March 2011).

PAS 141 sets out what tests and inspections businesses should do to prove equipment is suitable for reuse. BSI hopes it will encourage reuse generally as it will give companies confidence in goods.

The standard was developed by a working group of the previous government’s WEEE Advisory Body before it was closed by the Environment Department (DEFRA) last year (ENDS Report, July 2010).