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Tackling Leeds’ fly-tipping issues with ethical computer recycling

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Fly-tipping is an ongoing problem. At the start of 2018, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released figures showing that local councils in England spent more than £57m clearing up after fly-tipping abuses. At a time when local authorities are under pressure to cut costs, this represents a substantial drain on their resources.

Leeds City Council alone needed to spend £1.4m to meet fly-tipping clear-up costs. The city has also been experiencing problems with rubbish dumping at its old back-to-back houses. These properties have shared yards that used to host the communal water and toilet facilities. With these facilities now being available inside each house, some yards became unused and attracted high levels of fly-tipping.

Plans are in motion to try to tackle this, of course. The UK Government has proposed new measures, including providing greater powers for councils to fine offenders and allowing the Environment Agency to close off problematic sites. Leeds City Council, meanwhile, is planning to address its problematic “bin yards” by securing them and furnishing them with communal waste and recycling bins.

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While these are positive efforts, ethical computer recycling in Leeds can also play a big role in reducing fly-tipping. While no one wants to see waste dumped in their community, computer equipment is a particular concern because of the various harmful heavy metals they contain, such as cadmium, lead and mercury. If these were not cleared up in a timely fashion, usually at the cost of the local council, these would eventually leak into the environment.

If you’re a business looking to dispose of computer equipment, it’s important to only use companies that offer ethical computer recycling in Leeds. This is not just a moral obligation but also a legal one, because you can be held responsible for the consequences if you hire an unlicenced person to dispose of waste. For example, in a case in Devon in 2016, a computer business owner was given a £300 fixed-penalty notice after hiring an individual without a waste carrier’s licence to dispose of computer equipment. This person, who himself had to pay £1,166 in fines and costs, had dumped the potentially hazardous waste on a country lane. This demonstrates the danger of choosing a cheap service without asking questions.

Another element to ethical computer recycling in Leeds is how some equipment may actually be reused. After securely erasing any data and reconditioning them, many computers may be suitable for resale to consumers. This can benefit the people of Leeds by giving them access to reasonably modern computers at an affordable price. Functional equipment could also be donated to charity.

Of course, while it’s preferable to reuse computers, not every piece of equipment is going to be in a suitable state. Some machines may be obsolete, while others may be too damaged to warrant repair. In such cases, the process of ethical computer recycling in Leeds should never involve sending waste to landfills. Computers should be broken down into their constituent components and dealt with accordingly. Many materials will be suitable for recycling, but any others should be disposed of safely and responsibly.

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