PAS 141 set to boost re-use of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment
23 July 2012
The industry has welcomed 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. Use of labels on successfully tested apparatus will reassure customers and regulators; as consumer confidence rises in the quality of re-use WEEE, more ‘green jobs’ will be created in the UK’s growing re-use sector.
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 is 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 reuse organisations using documented safety tests, removing confidential data and keeping records to demonstrate this.
PAS 141 will also be used to differentiate ‘bona fide’ exports from illegal exports of WEEE under the guise of being sent abroad for reuse. The international Correspondents Guidelines call for a ‘test’ to differentiate between reuse 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.
Overseas interest is growing, with copies of PAS 141 selling outside the UK and used in discussions at recent UN meetings on how to provide affordable access to reused computer equipment in developing countries.
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 Reuse Network, Sims, CRS, Environcom, UKAS and ShP.
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is now looking for UK-based certification bodies to gain accreditation to issue PAS 141 status for those organisations that meet the standards set out in the specification. Companies interested in becoming accredited to offer PAS 141 certification should contact UKAS.
Valpak has been appointed as PAS 141 Scheme Administrators by BIS to administer the certification schemes and registration of a trademark and use of labels.
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