Wednesday, 6 March 2013

New PAS 141 standard will certify electric and electronic waste for re-use

The PAS 141:2011 certification scheme for the re-use of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was officially launched on February 27. PAS 141 is a new British good practice standard that sets out the requirements to successfully manage the process of preparing equipment for reuse.

PAS 141 was developed by industry experts working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) with the aim of improving the overall standards for the treatment of discarded electrical and electronic equipment in the UK. It will also help regulatory agencies identify ‘bona fide’ exports from illegal exports of WEEE under the guise of being sent abroad for re-use.

The certification will reassure consumers that equipment is safe to use and fit for purpose. In addition, the original producers of the equipment will no longer have any electrical safety or data protection liabilities - PAS 141 certified organisations will use documented safety tests, remove confidential data and keep records.

Companies looking to achieve PAS 141 status can be independently assessed by UKAS accredited certification bodies. Oakdene Hollins is the first organisation to be able to provide accredited certification, with more organisations likely to follow soon. 

There is apparently significant overseas interest in the standard. PAS 141 is being presented to the EU Standards Committee as the basis for a European-wide standard for re-use, following the recent update of the EU WEEE Directive.


Review:  Well it’s another step in the direction of the most effective form of ‘end-of-life’ equipment management. In order of priority, we need to be using less ICT equipment, re-using it at end-of-life and then, and only then, recycling the materials and components.

But to make re-use more widespread needs reassurances for both seller, that data will be wiped, and buyer, that the equipment will work. Only then can a re-use market flourish. The new standard gives all parties the possibility to choose an organisation that has clearly demonstrated that it achieves these minimum standards.

Whether it will actually stimulate the market remains to be seen. Let’s hope so.

(Coincidentally, the Green Grid has apparently today introduced a metric - Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE) - designed to help increase industry awareness of the responsible disposal of IT assets. More later.)

© The Green IT Review

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