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PAS 141 set to boost re-use of used and waste electrical equipment

The industry is gearing-up for the official launch of Publicly Available Specification or PAS 141:2011, a new British best practice standard which is set to increase the re-use and cut down on illegal exports of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE & WEEE).

UEEE and WEEE treatment facilities looking to achieve PAS 141 status will be independently assessed by UKAS accredited certification bodies to ensure they meet the standard. Accreditation of the first UK certification body will take place this summer with more likely to follow.

Re-used equipment from PAS 141 approved organisations will have labels on them to identify that they have been processed in compliance with PAS 141 and to differentiate them from items produced by facilities which are not PAS 141 compliant.

PAS 141 was developed by industry experts working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on improving overall standards for the treatment of discarded electrical and electronic equipment in the UK. This was done to address a demand from consumers for reassurance that used apparatus are electrically safe to use and functionally fit for purpose. The original producers of the equipment also need re-assurance that their safety liabilities and reputation will be protected by re-use organisations using documented safety tests, removing confidential data and keeping records to demonstrate this.

PAS 141 will also be used to differentiate official exports from illegal exports of WEEE under the guise of being sent abroad for re-use. The international Correspondents Guidelines call for a test to differentiate between re-use and the illegal exports of waste, but fails to specify what ‘test’ is required. PAS 141 sets out the tests to fill this gap and will be used by the UK environmental agencies to focus efforts on stopping illegal exports.

This new initiative is now supported by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which is chaired by Gary Griffiths (RDC) and includes BIS, Defra, WRAP, the Furniture Re-use Network, Sims, CRS, Environcom, UKAS and ShP.

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