Worn out, broken down or simply surplus to requirement, it does not matter why you want to get rid of your old fridge, phone or computer. As from this weekend simply throwing it away is no longer an option. A Brussels directive on the disposal of electric and electronic appliances has just come in to force and it means all such goods must now be sent for recycling.
The reason is they contain a number of substances that, unless treated properly, can cause major environmental damage. Mercury, lead, bromine cadmium, all need to be extracted. In many EU member state, recycling is already well underway. Last year some 60,000 tonnes of appliances were collected. But it all costs, and it is the consumer who is likely to pay the price.