The new electrical equipment recycling law due to come into force next year will have little impact on IT departments, according to UK IT chiefs.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is due to come into force in the UK from January next year and is aimed at forcing companies and individuals to dispose of electrical equipment – such as computers – in a responsible fashion.

But two-thirds (eight) of’s CIO Jury IT user panel said the directive will have little impact on their budgets or planning as their existing equipment disposal procedures are already in compliance with the new law.

Many said they already dispose of IT equipment through approved companies and existing suppliers.

Kirk Downey, CTO at utility giant Centrica, said: “We have had disposal arrangements in place for several years with our strategic suppliers.”

Paul Haley, head of IS operations at the British Library, said his organisation already has a contract with a supplier to dispose of the 750 PCs the British Library gets rid of each year either by auction or in an environmentally friendly way.

“The Library then receives 69 per cent of the sale value (31 per cent is retained by the disposal company as their fee). Additionally, by removing Microsoft licences from disposed of PCs we can, under the Microsoft Select Agreement, reuse those licences on new machines. We are currently planning to establish another contract to deal specifically with redundant servers and networking components,” he said.

Paul Allen, head of IT at Commerzbank’s online share trading arm Comdirect, questioned what companies are doing if they aren’t already adhering to the spirit of the directive.

“Responsible companies should already be disposing of redundant equipment in a responsible manner. The January deadline just gives it the force of law,” he said.

Peter Ryder, head of ICT at Preston City Council, said he fully supports the aims of the directive and that budget provision was made for it as soon as the council knew it was coming into force.

For one IT chief the WEEE directive presented an opportunity to review existing procedures that ended up saving money. Chris Broad, head of information systems and technology at UKAEA, said: “It was a driver in getting our reuse and disposal process sorted, resulting in an overall saving.”

A third of the CIO Jury said there has been an impact on IT planning but most said this was negligible. Ian Auger, IT director at ITN, said: “We will need to be sure that when planning projects which include new or upgraded hardware that we make an allowance to cover disposal and any administrative costs that we might incur to provide proof of compliance.”

Gavin Whatrup, IT director at advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, said WEEE will affect IT suppliers more than IT users. “What will change is the shift of responsibility onto the manufacturer and this will affect our planning. If the burden of disposal moves away from us, the users, then the vendor willing to take it on will be more favourably assessed.”

Today’s CIO Jury was:

Ian Auger, IT director, ITN
Paul Allen, head of IT, Comdirect
Les Boggia, division head of IT, Carole Nash
Chris Broad, head of information systems and technology, UKAEA
Kirk Downey, CTO, Centrica
James Findlay, head of ICT, Maritime & Coastguard Agency
Paul Haley, head of IS operations, The British Library
Christopher Linfoot, IT director, LDV Vans
Rob Neil, head of ICT, Ashford Borough Council
Andy Pepper, director of business information systems, Tetley
Peter Ryder, head of ICT, Preston City Council
Gavin Whatrup, IT director, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of’s CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at