What is Critical National Infrastructure and How To Protect It?

Many people may have heard the term Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and wondered why it needs to be protected or how it impacts them. CNI is all around us and impacts every aspect of our lives, including how we travel, what we eat and how we eat, where our energy comes from, and how we communicate. This blog will answer what is Critical National Infrastructure and provide CNI examples.

Introduction: What is Critical National Infrastructure?

Critical National Infrastructure are the things that are essential for the day-to-day functioning of society and the economy. This includes networks, processes, buildings, services, information and people that, if not present, would have a catastrophic impact on society's economic security, safety or health.

Critical national infrastructure definition also extends it to specific sites and organisations which aren't classed essential but need protection due to the danger to society if they were breached or damaged. These include nuclear power stations and chemical treatment/production facilities.

Critical national infrastructure is commonly used in Government to describe roads, bridges, railways, hospitals etc., but also extends much more into cyber systems, which are equally as vulnerable, if not more, than physical systems.

Not everything within a country's infrastructure is classed as critical; as such, The UK Government has the below definition to ensure CNI has the highest possible protection:

Critical National Infrastructure are critical elements of infrastructure that the loss or compromise of which could result in:
a) A lack or loss of availability, integrity or delivery of essential services
b) Significant impact on national security, defence, or the functioning of the state

To learn more about how CNI is being protected, specifically against cyberattacks, we recommend checking out The National Cyber Security Centre.

National Cyber Security Centre

Critical National Infrastructure Sectors and Examples

In the UK, there are thirteen CNI sectors - we have included a complete list below with examples:

In America, there are 16 critical infrastructure sectors (provided in a list below) that the Government defines as:

"There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their destruction would drastically affect security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof."

The complete list of the 16 sectors is as follows:

Recent calls have also pushed the US to move space onto its list of CNI sectors - a discussion undoubtedly spurred on by the feats of SpaceX and Starlink.

What the Threat of Cyberattacks to CNI Means for Society

Over the past few months, the horrific events in Ukraine highlight just how crucial CNI is and why. CNI is often one of the first things to be targeted during attacks, as failure can cripple a nation. Additionally, without CNI, we lose the ability to protect ourselves from future attacks, making us even more vulnerable.

Without CNI, humanity cannot function, making it the perfect target for criminals looking for a significant payoff. When criminals successfully hack or attack CNI, governments and organisations often have no choice other than giving them what they want to avoid widespread societal disruption. For example, in May 2021, the Colonial Pipeline, which originates in Texas, was hit by a ransomware attack. The attack led to 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast being cut off for six days and fuel prices reaching record prices. To restart the pipeline, Brenntag paid 75 Bitcoins ($5m at the time, source) to hackers – highlighting the price companies are willing to pay to get CNI back up and running.

Cyberattacks can be localised or even across a whole country - one cyberattack can lead to a complete blackout of entire sectors, leading to unknown damages and chaos. This means that society not only needs to be aware of the actions they can take against cyber threats, but they also need to do everything they can to reduce the risk - especially if they're working for a company in one of the critical sectors.

Fortunately, there are some fantastic companies and organisations that are making large strides to reduce these risks and help society - these include:

How to make Telecommunications Critical National Infrastructure more resilient

Communication is a sector we all interact with every day - whether it be picking up the phone to call a friend, reply to emails or contact emergency services. The PSTN, a legacy copper-based technology that works even during a power cut, is one of the most ingenious ways that telecoms infrastructure was made resilient across the globe.

Copper cables that make up the PSTN are powered during power cuts via emergency generators within telephone exchanges. These generators kick in to provide electricity to critical infrastructure during power cuts to ensure no one is left connected. Check out our previous blog to learn more about how the PSTN works during power cuts.

Despite the PSTN's resilience, its age and cost to run have led to plans to turn it off in 2025 in the UK. This could mean the 1.1m landline-only customers may be without communication to emergency services or support during natural disasters or cyber-attacks. BT is rolling out mobile phones and battery backups to mitigate this risk. This solution may not be appropriate for those who live in the 4% of the UK with no phone signal and is useless during power cuts, as most base stations only have 1 hours' worth or no backup power. When put into perspective, a large power outage would wipe out communication for all those who don't have a PSTN connection.

To learn more about how this could impact the UK, check out Brian Levy's blog article "Current plans to close down the fixed Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) need a major rethink."

To protect vulnerable customers and society as a whole, we have suggested a three-step process to make telecoms infrastructure more resilient:

Accurate mapping: How can you make a plan to upgrade or protect technology if you don't know what you're dealing with? As mentioned above, legacy telco networks were installed decades ago and have been iterated on throughout those years without a standardised inventory being maintained - this makes it very difficult to plan and track scalable upgrades and removals without putting customers at risk.

This must be addressed, particularly in advance of the 2025 switch-off and is something RECOVAR is offering through our asset recovery software which digitises the inspection and recovery of telecoms equipment. Our software automates manual processes and standardises datasets required to track removal. Check out our map feature below, which can be used to track the removal of specific manufacturers and equipment from telephone exchanges, cell towers and infrastructure across the UK.

RECOVAR's map of telephone exchanges across the UK-min
RECOVAR's map of telephone exchanges across the UK - each circle shows the number of locations within a cluster
RECOVAR's map of telephone exchanges in Cardiff-min
RECOVAR's map of telephone exchanges in the UK - showing individual locations in Cardiff

Replacement: The PSTN is over a decade past its design life and certainly needs to be removed. Before it is removed, there needs to be a nationwide replacement of its services. The best option for this could be ensuring complete mobile coverage across the UK to help protect customers' communication during power cuts. Companies are already addressing this problem, such as Streetwave, which creates mobile network performance maps across the UK to monitor and check the quality of the nation's 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks.

Energy resilience: Mobile networks are useless during a power cut without backup or independent energy sources. Mobile networks can ensure communication for society during power cuts by developing separate emergency networks powered by generators, solar panels, or wind power – something not currently required by law. The only critical requirement here is that people need access to mobile phones - but arguably, this is a cost worth paying to ensure vulnerable customers aren't left disconnected during PSTN removal.

During floods, even backup power can fail, highlighting the challenge that needs to be addressed as the weather gets more extreme and the need for resilience increases as we move to next-generation telco networks.

CNI Critical National Infrastructure FAQs

How can I learn more about the National Infrastructure CPNI?

To learn more about the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, check out their about page and advice & guidance page, which has a list of informative resources.

What are examples of critical infrastructure?

Critical infrastructure includes highways, bridges, tunnels, railways, utilities and buildings. Transportations and commerce depend on these vital infrastructures. Clean water and electricity also rely on them.

What is critical infrastructure, and why is it important?

Critical National Infrastructure are the things that are essential for the day-to-day functioning of society and the economy. This includes networks, processes, buildings, services, information and people that, if not present, would have a catastrophic impact on physical or economic security, or society's safety or health.

Who owns critical infrastructure?

In the US, the private sector owns roughly 85% of the nation's critical national infrastructure and critical resources. Subsequently, UK and US governments provide support to each private sector to ensure the protection of CNI.

Conclusion: What We Can Do to Protect Our Nation's Most Vulnerable Assets

We need to do more to protect our nation's most vulnerable assets and critical national infrastructure. This includes educating our workforce on the dangers and how we can protect our critical national infrastructure, creating an accurate map of CNI in each sector and collaborating across the public and private sectors to innovate ahead of risks.

If you have any suggestions on how CNI can be protected, would like to book a demo with the RECOVAR Team or ask any questions, feel free to get in touch!

Contact Us Forms Best Practices For Increasing Conversions

Introduction: How a Contact Form can Help You Reach Your Goals

A contact form is a page or widget on a website that provides users with a quick, convenient way to communicate with a website owner. A contact form is typically located on a company's website and drives potential customers to a call to action.

Did you know that nearly 68% of forms get abandoned before being submitted? This is often because websites don't follow contact us forms best practices.

Contact forms have different calls to action depending on what a business wants its visitors to do, such as booking a demo, finding out more, or requesting a quote for products and services. They're often the primary way websites start conversations with their target customers and allow companies to "capture leads" for their sales teams.

What does this mean for your business? For telecommunications and IT asset recovery companies and resellers, you're missing out on potential leads who might have equipment to sell or service they need completed - leading to lost revenue.

This blog will provide a complete guide to contact us forms best practices for increasing conversions for your website, focusing on telecoms and IT asset recovery and recycling companies.

If you'd like to learn more about increasing leads and conversions to your website, please contact the RECOVAR Team or fill out the contact form below!

What is a Contact Form and Form Abandonment?

What does contact form mean? A contact form is a page or widget on a website that provides users an immediate, convenient way to communicate with a website owner. It can be used for various purposes, from communicating with the website owner to submitting inquiries or requesting information. A contact form submission will often come through to your CRM system or even your inbox as an email, depending upon the system you have in place.

Despite contact forms being one of the most common ways for websites to capture leads, most websites do it wrong. Ineffective contact forms may lead to form abandonment. Form abandonment is where the lead fills in part of the form before leaving the page and submitting their information. Ineffective forms may also lead to incorrect or inadequate information being submitted, leading to a poor customer experience and tedious back-and-forth emails to get a deal in place.

Why does form abandonment happen?

Form abandonment can happen for one or many different reasons. We have provided some reasons why your website may have a high number of form abandonment below:

9 Contact Us Forms Best Practices

The contact form is an integral part of any website, and it is the first point of contact for your potential customers to complete a call to action. Below we have included nine contact us best practices that outline the best way to say contact me on your website.

1. Use Clear CTAs

What do you want from your lead? Do you want them to request a quote, book a demo or send an enquiry?

Whatever your call to action is, make it extremely clear, so your lead knows what to expect. If your CTA is "Get In Touch" or "Contact Us", you're likely missing out on conversions by being too vague.

2. Only Ask For Information You Need

You don't need to know their second name, company name, address or country - if they're submitting a form, they must be interested in your product or service, so ONLY ask for the information you need to follow up on that lead.

Usually, this will be their email, which already contains their name and company, but it may also be their phone number.

With the power of LinkedIn, you can find out someone's location, second name and even phone number - so don't risk form abandonment by asking for too much information.

3. Allowing Flexibility? Expect Unstandardised Data

Some companies, such as IT and telecommunications asset recovery companies and resellers, may need an asset list to quote and plan a job appropriately. If so, and you're allowing the user as much flexibility as possible, then expect unstandardised information and inventories that lead to manual work further down the line.

This is a problem RECOVAR is looking to solve through our contact form solution - a contact form optimised for conversions that give you the information you need to convert a lead quickly. Furthermore, completed forms automatically transfer to your RECOVAR dashboard - providing an all-in-one lead generation and asset recovery solution.

Want to find out more? Book a live demo with the RECOVAR Team today to learn about our product and support options.

4. Create Curiosity

If your customer requests a quote, some contact forms will allow you to create curiosity by showing a blurred figure that they have to enter their email address to reveal.

These contact forms are typically in the form of a calculator, which may not apply to all websites, but the practice of creating curiosity is a great way to improve your website conversion rates.

Contact Us Form Best Practices - Create Curiosity with a quote
Creating curiosity via a blurred quote example

5. Add input validation

Have you ever filled in a contact form and pressed submit, only to be told you entered the information or format wrong?

User experience (UI) is vital on websites, and ensuring leads can quickly enter the correct information is crucial - otherwise, they're likely to get frustrated and go to a competitor.

Input validation may be in the form of highlighting an incorrect email (as shown below) and helps the user input the correct information the first time.

Contact Us Form Best Practices - Input Validation on RECOVAR's Web Dashboard
Contact Us Form Best Practices Example - Adding Input Validation

6. Add partial entry capture

Even if you follow all of the best practices and watch all of the optimisation videos on YouTube, leads will still abandon your form before submitting - this leads to lost revenue for your business as you miss out on the ability to chase a lead while they're interested.

Partial entry capture in a contact form collects the information inputted, even if the form isn't submitted. If "Input your email" is the first field on your contact form, when a lead fills this in and then abandons the form, partial entry capture tools will mean you can still contact them.

Picture this; if 68% of forms are abandoned, partial entry capture could triple the number of leads you're capturing through contact forms.

7. Improve your website's page speed

If your website is slow, leads are less likely to get onto your page in the first place to submit their personal information. Google prioritises webpage speed when ranking your website, so be sure to assess what is slowing your website down and optimise it to increase conversions.

Additionally, websites with a poor user experience that lag during an interaction are also likely to put off a potential customer, so ensure you lay the right foundations for your contact forms.

8. Optimise the copy

Your website copy will be the core text that tells a potential lead about your website, explaining what you do and what you offer. The copy is on your home page, the about page, your product and service pages, and most of your website's other top-level pages.

If your website copy doesn't tell your target customer what your value add is, you're not optimising for contact form conversions.

A common mistake for businesses is that they use their own lingo, not the lingo and terms used by their customers. To solve this, ask your customers and target customers how they would describe your offering – this provides feedback you can use to optimise your copy.

9. Ensure your site is mobile responsive

Mobile devices now account for over 50% of web traffic. Even if your customers are unlikely to come to your site using a mobile phone, Google now prioritises mobile performance, so you must optimise for mobile as well as desktop.

For example, 40% of RECOVAR's website views were on mobile in the past 60 days (below). Did we prioritise optimising for desktop because that's the majority of our audience? No. We prioritised them both equally and ensured the mobile experience was as good, if not better, than the desktop experience.

Contact us form best practices - optimise for mobile
An example of RECOVAR's user analytics over the past 60 days from Google Analytics

Conclusion: Contact Us Forms Best Practices For Increasing Conversions

This blog has covered contact us forms best practices, the best way to say contact me on your website and how to increase the number of conversions through your website, focusing on telecommunications and IT asset recovery companies and resellers.

Website design and creating an excellent contact us page isn't easy. Many companies across all industries are missing out on revenue because leads leave their website before being captured.

If you'd like to discuss any of these points and learn from RECOVAR's experience, feel free to get in touch - we're happy to provide a free audit on sites looking to improve their conversion rates and web design and discuss our contact form solution.

For advice on improving contact forms and getting more organic search traffic, feel free to contact ROUGH WATER MEDIA - a specialist SEO and content marketing agency who have recently worked on a number of blogs and websites.

Waste Transfer Note Template and FAQs

Introduction: What are Waste Transfer Note Templates?

A Waste Transfer Note template is a document that can be filled out and signed to fulfil the specific requirements of a WTN (Waste Transfer Notes). WTN templates are much easier to complete as they are editable on the PDF - meaning you don't need to print them off and write out the requirements or use a clunky PDF editor.

If you would like to learn more about Waste Transfer Notes, check out our previous blog, which covers all of the requirements you need to know and how to fill a WTN out. If you have a question that we don't cover in that blog, stay tuned, as this blog will cover all of your Waste Transfer Note FAQs!

Free Blank Waste Transfer Note Template

A Waste Transfer Note is a document that is required when transferring waste from one company to another. Many companies may struggle to deal with paper WTNs that take up space and become extremely difficult to search through over time, mainly when a company processes a lot of waste.

To make this easier, below, we have added a Waste Transfer Note Template that you can download and edit on your computer, tablet or phone. Fill out the below form, and you will receive this template directly into your inbox!

How to fill a Waste Transfer Note Template

Fill out the above contact form, and you will receive a free template directly into your inbox. Once you have clicked the link in the email, the PDF will automatically be downloaded.

The PDF template fields are editable - meaning you can quickly fill in all the fields you need to transfer waste between two parties. Ensure you have the necessary information ready to fill them out, mainly because typos can result in a fine if requested to provide a WTN by your local council or environmental agency.

Because some of the required fields are codes that you must research, it's easy to make a mistake, so double-check before you save and store your edited PDF.

If you have any questions or problems with the template, please contact the RECOVAR Team.

Waste Transfer Note FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Below we have listed some of the most common Waste Transfer Note FAQs that we have observed across the internet and have been asked since our last WTN Blog.

Waste Transfer Note FAQs
RECOVAR ECO SERIES: Waste Transfer Note FAQs

What are the benefits of using Waste Transfer Notes?

The main benefit of using Waste Transfer Notes is that they provide an accurate record of what happens to waste as it moves from one place to another. This ensures accountability for the movement and disposal of waste, which can help you meet your obligations under environmental legislation.

How long do Waste Transfer Notes have to be retained?

The regulations state that Waste Transfer Notes must be stored for at least 2 years after the date of the waste transfer.

Why do we need Waste Transfer Notes?

Waste Transfer Notes are needed to ensure a standardised record and audit trail from where waste is produced to its disposal. Without a WTN system, it would be challenging to determine the origin of the waste. Additionally, there would be no description of the waste; this is important as, if hazardous properties or illegal waste is found, it would be nearly impossible to trace it back to its source to find the individual responsible.

Who is responsible for producing Waste Transfer Notes?

Commonly, the party receiving/collecting/carrying the waste will produce and complete the Waste Transfer Note. However, both the receiver and the generator are responsible for ensuring the information is correct before signing and storing it for at least 24 months (two years).

Is a Waste Transfer Note a legal requirement?

Yes, Waste Transfer Notes are a legal requirement. From the 28th of September 2011, a transfer note must conform with the conditions laid down by the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 - many businesses often do not know they are responsible, so be sure to educate yourself to be compliant.

What is the difference between a consignment note and a Waste Transfer Note?

Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes are required to transfer waste that contains hazardous material. As such, "haz" waste consignment notes are more detailed than Waster Transfer Notes – hazardous waste consignment notes include information such as the hazardous code and the state of the waste (e.g. is it solid, liquid or gas).

How long do you keep hazardous waste consignment notes?

Due to the hazardous nature of the waste transfer, you must store hazardous waste consignment notes for at least three years (i.e. 1 year longer than a Waste Transfer Note). These records must be producible when requested by your local council or environmental regulator. Hazardous waste producers and waste carriers are both responsible for following the code of practice in their waste operations.

What are EWC codes?

The EWC (European Waste Catalogue) code is commonly used to identify waste transferred on a Waste Transfer Note. There are 650 different EWC codes used to categorise waste, and these are also commonly referred to as LoW (List of Waste), EWC (European Waste Code) or Waste Classification Codes.

To find out more about EWC codes, check out the Government website, which contains information on classifying your waste.

What is the SIC code on a Waste Transfer Note?

A SIC code is a Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities Code for the companies producing and receiving the waste under the Waste Transfer Note. SIC codes detail the nature of a business and can be found on the Companies House website.

What is a waste producer?

A waste producer or holder is any person, company or government agency that carries out work or activities which creates waste. Don't confuse the producer with the carrier or the person who issues instructions that lead to the waste. Waste producers have the same duty of care as the waste carrier when completing Waste Transfer Notes.

What is a waste season ticket?

A Waste Transfer Note season ticket is a single WTN that can be used for many waste transfers for up to one year. A WTN season ticket does not cover hazardous waste, and if any information changes on the WTN, the season ticket is void, and you must produce a new WTN.

Waste Transfer Note season tickets are also commonly referred to as annual Waste Transfer Notes.

Waste Transfer Note Requirements and how to Complete Them

What is a Waste Transfer Note?

A Waste Transfer Note (WTN) is a document required to transport waste. It serves to ensure that the transporter has explicit knowledge and understanding of the type and quantity of hazardous waste being transported, as well as where it is going and why. Due to the legalities of WTNs, there are several waste transfer note requirements you must follow.

Waste Transfer Notes must be kept for two years, and you must produce them when requested by your local council or environmental regulator. Waste Transfer Note requirements that aren’t followed may result in a fine. This ensures a standardised and transparent audit trail of waste from its source to where it’s disposed of.

There is no required format for duty of care waste transfer note forms, and many companies will produce their own. A common one used in the UK is GOV.UK waste transfer note, which we have included below:

Waste Transfer Note Requirements
Waste Transfer Note Requirements

Waste Transfer Notes Requirements- What Should be Included?

WTM requirements are there to ensure waste is correctly documented upon disposal. They also ensure that whoever you pass your waste onto is legally allowed to process the type of waste you give them. To learn more about who can deal with waste, check out this webpage by the Environment Agency.

The WTN must be appropriately filled and signed by both parties with the following information:

What is the Legal Basis for Waste Transfer Notes Legislation?

Waste transfer documents are a legal requirement that many businesses do not know they must fill in and store for two years. From 28/09/2011, a transfer note must conform with the conditions laid down by the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011.

They were brought in place to control how waste was being disposed of, and you can be requested by both your local council and the environmental agency to provide one. These requirements are backed up by law, so be sure to follow the most up to date legislation.

The only exception for a waste transfer note is when you get given household waste directly from the inhabitants that produced it - such as when someone drops off household waste to a skip. You will, however, need a WTN when that waste is passed onto another party.

If your waste is hazardous, you must create a hazardous waste consignment note. A hazardous waste consignment note is essentially a more detailed WTN. It is more detailed because it covers the transfer of waste that contains hazardous material such as medical waste.

Waste Transfer Note Season Ticket

Repeat transfers can be streamlined with less manual paperwork by using a WTN season ticket. A season ticket covers many transfers for up to 12 months. A season ticket can be used if all of the below stays the same:

If any of the above changes during the 12 months, a new WTF will be required, and the season ticket will be void.

An annual waste transfer note is a single note that covers many transfers throughout up to a year. An annual waste transfer note is just another term for a Waste Transfer Note Season Ticket.

You must keep a separate list of the date and amount of waste transferred under an annual note. This can be done by noting each transfer on a spreadsheet or keeping it in your records (invoice, weighbridge, etc.). Any collection software should also provide this record for you.

Waste Transfer Note PDF App

The Waste Regulations (England and Wales) 2014 allows emails, invoices, and alternative documentation as a WTN. But the legal requirements for what needs to be provided upon request stays the same.

Filling a PDF form out online or on paper manually can be slow. The best waste transfer note apps allow you to collect all the information you need to be compliant without the manual work associated with WTNs.

Waste Transfer Note apps also give you the reports your business requires for compliance while replacing all of the unstandardised Excel spreadsheets much of the information is typically held upon.

To find out more, get in touch with the RECOVAR Team.

Waste Transfer Note Conclusion

The Waste Transfer Note is a document that accompanies a shipment of waste and documents the transfer from one person or company to another. The Waste Transfer Note is often required by law in many countries, including the UK. The purpose of this note is to provide proof that a shipment was transferred according to regulations and that it has been disposed of properly at its destination.

Feel free to check out the below links to find out more about WTNs and your responsibilities, as well as to find out the SIC code of your business (a requirement of waste transfer notes).

GOV.UK – Duty of Care Waste Transfer Note Forms on the official Government website.

SEPA – Zero Waste Guidance Note – What is your Duty of Care? (Brought together by SEPA, Scottish Environment Protection Agency).

DOENI – Waste Duty of Care article by The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Companies House Guide to SIC Codes - Nature of business: Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes from the official Government website.

Decommissioning Process Flow for Equipment

Decommissioning is the process of shutting down and/or removing a building, equipment, asset or facility from service at its end of life. This blog will give a comprehensive overview of a decommissioning process flow for equipment and a decommissioning process flow diagram.

At the end of a decommissioning process flow, the following steps vary depending on many factors, including the value of the equipment. If the equipment has reuse value, it will likely be resold, and if not, it will be recycled or sent to a landfill.

Examples of assets that are decommissioned include:

The decommissioning of equipment can occur for several reasons, including reducing operational expenditure (OPEX), replacing legacy systems with new technology, or emptying a building before lease contracts end.

Decommissioning projects can be complex, requiring careful planning and management by specialist asset recovery companies to ensure efficient and safe completion. Thus, a decommissioning process flow should be clearly outlined.

This blog outlines a general decommissioning process flow for equipment, focusing on IT and telecommunications equipment. This process can be used for the basis of more complex plans and scopes of work.

Decommissioning Process Flow Diagram

The decommissioning process flow diagram below represents the decommissioning process that occurs after the end of the operational life of equipment. In telecommunications and IT, this equipment could be an antenna, switching equipment, servers or generators.

Be aware that this is a general process flow - there may be additional requirements or steps depending upon the asset or building being decommissioned and your customer’s needs.

Decommissioning Process Flow and Checklist for Equipment
Decommissioning Process Flow and Checklist for Equipment

Why Decommissioning is Challenging

Decommissioning is a slow, manual process. It is also often time-sensitive; whether you’re trying to reclaim value from redundant assets, build up internal spare reserves, or aim to clear a building, you need to complete things quickly. This must all be done while ensuring you don’t put your company, assets or employees at risk.

Slow and manual processes often stem from paper and Excel-based inventories. A lack of standardisation is common, and additional equipment audits may be needed so that companies can adequately complete a decommissioning project based upon an accurate asset register.

Additionally, especially in older buildings, if you’re removing equipment that has been there for a long time, you’re likely to encounter access problems, asbestos, and, more recently, COVID restrictions.

Once decommissioning is completed, the challenges don’t disappear; the Excel spreadsheets continue to cause problems as it’s challenging to bring together information from multiple sheets, particularly when they’re unstandardised and become out-of-date over time. This lack of standardisation in e-waste logistics only creates additional manual processing, particularly when bringing equipment back to a warehouse from multiple sites across the globe.

Equipment Decommissioning Checklist and Best Practices for Equipment - 8 Steps

This section outlines a general decommissioning process flow for equipment, focusing on IT and telecommunications equipment. This process can be used for the basis of more complex plans and scopes of work from the perspective of a company completing decommissioning work in-house.

As already explained, decommissioning is slow, manual and takes resources away from your core business focus. As such, it may be appropriate to outsource decommissioning to an experienced asset recovery/decommissioning company. Feel free to contact the RECOVAR team, and we will happily put you in touch with a company that best suits your needs.

1. Decision To Decommission

A department decides they are going to decommission their equipment - this may come through a manager submitting a decommissioning request to their Director, including the rationale for the decision. This may be off the back of an internal service update, regulation in the industry or ambitions to reduce CAPEX.

Given old and outdated equipment can drain CAPEX, it makes sense to invest in newer, less resource-intensive equipment that will save money in the medium-long term.

2. Conduct Site Survey/Inspection

It is usually best to complete an equipment survey or inspection before planning decommissioning. How can an appropriate plan be formulated if you don’t know what you’re dealing with?

Engineers should be tasked to locate the equipment that needs to be decommissioned in the facility and record all required information (including manufacturer, serial number, equipment specs, part number, suite and rack, location/area etc.).

This inventory should be recorded using specialised software. Excel and paper-based inventories only lead to problems later on regarding decommissioning work.

Taking photos of each piece of equipment to the inventory can also help when it comes to decommissioning work. Adding notes to each image allows the engineers responsible for decommissioning to locate the right equipment, which can be challenging at larger or older sites.

Decommissioning process flow Step 2: Identify the asset to be decommissioned
Decommissioning Checklist Step 2: Identify the asset to be decommissioned

Once this inspection is completed, you can move to step three before planning the decommissioning work.

3. Get Approval

It is best to get approval for the decommissioning work once the inventory has been built. This inventory should be sent to all relevant IT Directors and facility managers to review and approve.

After approval, establish and maintain clear communication channels for key stakeholders to stay updated and act if there are any blockers with the decommissioning progress.  

4. Decommissioning Planning

The decommissioning project manager should identify who is responsible for each process stage while also speaking to all relevant departments and users impacted by the decommissioning work.

Within this plan should be a sense check for decommissioning project managers to assess all other steps which may be required alongside decommissioning, including:

A vital requirement of the decommissioning plan is to clearly define the end-state - when is decommissioning complete? Does the facility need to be returned to its original state? These are all things to consider throughout this decommissioning process flow for Equipment

Once the plan is approved, decommissioning can begin.

5. Offline The Service

If the IT or telecommunications equipment due to be decommissioned still provides a service, you need to take it offline.

The offline date is essential and should be communicated effectively to all those affected as, after this date, they will no longer be able to access the service. Identifying and planning what you need to do for these users if you’re responsible for migrating them is a whole other challenge that we’ll cover in another blog.

6. Complete Decommissioning

Travel to the site and systematically go through the approved inventory, appropriately removing the equipment that needs to be decommissioned. If the equipment is already disconnected, you don’t need to worry. However, if the equipment is still connected and live, only disconnect if approved.

Here, a flagging system is often helpful, where equipment that appears to be still connected (but shouldn’t be) or still in use can be flagged to the asset owner to ensure appropriate actions take place.

For servers, you will need to disconnect firewalls, access control lists (ACLs), subnetworks and remove the equipment. To learn more about server decommissioning, check out this blog in Waste Advantage, written by RECOVAR’s co-founder, Henry.

It may seem like a good idea to try and complete everything internally, but this can lead to issues for other parts of your business if done incorrectly. If you’d rather not do the work yourself, leave it to qualified experts at asset recovery and decommissioning companies who have experience in this type of work.

Decommissioning Process Flow Step 6: Complete Decommissioning
Decommissioning Process Flow Step 6: Complete Decommissioning

7. Reuse, Recycle or Resell

Once your equipment has been wiped, disconnected and decommissioned, it’s now time to direct it towards the circular economy.

This is often best done through an ITAD or telecoms equipment reseller that specialises in getting value from your redundant equipment through reuse, resale or recycling in the circular economy.

By using an accredited specialist, asset owners can also have peace of mind regarding step seven, as all equipment will be disposed of properly. Accreditations and certifications to look out for include BS EN 15713: 2009, ADISA, SafeContractor scheme and ISA/IEC 62443.

8. Reporting and Tracking

Now you’ve decommissioned the equipment that needs to be removed from the site, you now need to focus your attention on reporting and waste tracking.

UK Government regulations require that for each shipment of non-hazardous waste moved off a business’s premises, a waste transfer note or a document with the same information, such as an invoice, needs to be produced.

A waste transfer note must be completed and signed by both the transferor (current holder of waste) and the transferee (person collecting the waste). This note needs to be kept for two years if requested by an enforcement officer from your local council or the Environment Agency.

Aside from waste transfer notes, asset owners and decommissioning companies should accurately register when equipment has left and where it went to comply with the WEEE Directive. To learn more about this directive and how it impacts EU businesses, visit this link.

As previously touched on, by recording inspection and decommissioning work digitally, many parts of these steps can be automated, giving you the audit trail you need in an accessible format.

Decommissioning Process Flow Summary

We’ve put together this equipment decommissioning checklist to help you get started. The goal is to provide an overview of the steps you need to follow, but it also serves as a starting point for your organisation. Refer to this decommissioning process flow for each phase during equipment decommissioning.

How RECOVAR Can Help

While the above decommissioning process flow for equipment can provide a starting point, there are many intricate details that your project might require. When you decommission equipment, collecting a standardised audit trail is crucial for successful completion at speed and scale and the reporting outlined in step 8.

Standardisation, automation, and streamlining the steps outlined above become even more critical when decommissioning across multiple sites. This is why companies choose RECOVAR - our all-in-one asset recovery software that digitises the inspection and decommissioning of IT and telecommunications equipment. The software is designed to empower engineers to complete decommissioning jobs within time constraints and fulfil all of your reporting needs, especially for multi-site projects.

To find out more about equipment decommissioning best practices and how RECOVAR digitises the whole process, from inspection to recovery, feel free to contact RECOVAR co-founder Henry Purchase via henry.purchase@recovar.co.uk.

From Alacrity Foundation Newport UK: RECOVAR's Story

RECOVAR was born out of The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK, a 15-month entrepreneurship course that provides graduates with the skills and knowledge required to run a profitable technology startup. The team first met in Alacrity and have since come a long way, so we wanted to write up our journey as we believe the most critical thing in a startup is its team.

As always, feel free to get in touch if you'd like to find out more or connect with the founding team if you have any questions.

Alacrity Foundation UK: History and The Programme

In the past decades, some of the world's most valuable companies were founded by recent university graduates (or dropouts!) - Airbnb, Facebook, Microsoft and WhatsApp. Graduates can come at fresh, innovative angles to industries that many professionals cannot due to their years of approaching problems in a certain way. This was identified and built around by the Alacrity model developers, Professor Simon Gibson CBE & Owen Matthews (with the support of Sir Terry Matthews) in 2013.

The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK Logo
The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK Logo

Since 2013, The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK has been supported by Wesley Clover (Sir Terry Matthews' private investment fund), the Welsh Government and The Waterloo Foundation. They are dedicated to developing graduates to start their own UK-based technology companies.

From a recent graduate's perspective, four key aspects make the Alacrity Foundation's programme so unique and beneficial.

Expert Mentors

Throughout the programme, graduates get sessions with expert mentors across many fields, including UI/UX, software development, product management, sales and marketing. These mentors have been there and done it. Exposure to such experience passes some of the problems found in university, where students learn the theory but rarely actually apply it.

These mentors allow graduates to absorb a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be used in their businesses. The network of Alacrity mentors is pervasive, meaning graduates meet with professionals they otherwise wouldn't encounter this early in their careers. For example, how many graduates get to pitch their business to CEOs and CTOs of multi-million-pound companies? This experience provides the ideal stimulus to iterate and test an early idea rapidly.

Stipend

Entrepreneurship is hard. Starting a business can be a risky leap of faith, especially for those with no savings or a safety net to fall back on. Alacrity pays all graduates a monthly stipend to ensure we work full-time on our business for the duration of the 15-month programme. This stipend makes it easier to make mistakes on our journey without worrying about paying rent. Making mistakes is an essential step towards improvement and learning.

Funding

At the end of the 15-month programme, Alacrity gives companies access to investor readiness initiatives, the opportunity to bootstrap if feasible and the option to raise funding from Wesley Clover. Funding provides companies with the capital to extend their runway to either become profitable or fuel their growth. With no "traditional" VC funds being located with Wales (source), having this option is highly beneficial for those unable to raise from VCs or angels elsewhere in the UK.

Demand-Based Approach

The Alacrity Foundation's model is based upon Bill Aulet's Disciplined Entrepreneurship, a structured, rigorous approach to building a lean startup. Demand is core to Alacrity. By partnering each company with industry veterans, the ideal environment is created to identify industry problems and create commercially viable software solutions.

By working with industry, RECOVAR mapped out processes across multiple companies, identified key pain points and developed a software solution to fulfil proven demand. This feedback creates a fantastic platform for growth and has enabled us to build software with several USPs (unique selling propositions) that taps into telecommunications and asset recovery industry areas. We are also increasingly exploring the ITAD (IT asset disposal) market as well as the wider waste management industry.

The programme puts the businesses in a solid position to succeed, providing an excellent opportunity for their partner companies. Startups, by nature, are small - meaning they have flexibility and agility that larger competitors cannot match. Getting in early with a startup means you can benefit from their growth, influence the direction of the product to receive superior value before competitors and help mould the next generation of entrepreneurs in the UK.

The Team

At RECOVAR, we believe the right team is essential for building a successful company. Without the right team, when times get tough, you will either grind to a halt or lose sight of the direction you're heading. Below is a brief introduction to each of the founding members of the RECOVAR Team. We are all available by LinkedIn to discuss any aspects of our product.

Henry Purchase - Commercial Director

Before RECOVAR, Henry graduated with a First Class Honours BEng in Civil Engineering from The University of Bath and has various experience working with startups and large corporates. While at university, Henry completed a placement at AECOM, a Fortune 200 engineering consultancy within the transportation infrastructure team. Alongside this, he co-scaled a marketing agency to 5-figures in monthly revenue.

Feel free to connect with Henry on LinkedIn to find out more.

Louis Tomos Evans - Product Director

Before RECOVAR, Louis achieved a First Class Honours BEng in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Computational Neuroscience, Cognition and AI at The University of Nottingham. Louis' interest in Machine Learning and Computer Vision compliments his natural ability for product development and UX. Louis is one of the core reasons our product looks so good.

Feel free to connect with Louis on LinkedIn to find out more.

Matthew Gould - Technical Director

Before RECOVAR, Matthew achieved a First Class Honours in MComp and BSc in Computer Sciences from The University of South Wales. Matt is an experienced programmer and entrepreneur, having completed Alacrity's 2020-21 programme with Alacrity fintech startup, Finative. Furthermore, his experience using multiple different programming languages gives Matthew the technical ability to adapt to the challenges we have faced throughout our product development.

Feel free to connect with Matt on LinkedIn to find out more.

RECOVAR's Vision

The world has an E-waste problem - In 2019, only 17.4 per cent of e-waste was officially documented as formally collected and recycled (E-Waste Monitor). The UK is one of the globes worst culprits. In 2019, the UK generated 23.9kg of e-waste per person - the 2nd highest per capita globally (E-Waste Monitor). Much of this e-waste was exported illegally despite having significant scrap value. In fact, E-waste is estimated to be costing the UK an estimated £370m in lost raw materials such as copper and gold (Business Green).

Things don't have to be this way and can be solved by the circular economy, where e-waste is either reused, recycled, repurposed or resold. We believe we can significantly impact the world's e-waste problem by increasing the amount that enters the circular economy. This is done by digitising the end-of-life supply chain, providing an exact audit trail from inspection to recovery - ensuring nothing goes to waste.

Telecommunications, in particular, has significant room for improvement. Telecommunications systems we still use today were installed over 30 years ago, making it very hard for telecommunications service providers to understand and update their inventories, which form the basis of the decisions they make. RECOVAR solves this problem by digitising the inspection and recovery of telecommunications equipment - our first step in tackling this colossal e-waste problem.

What's Next for RECOVAR

RECOVAR's product is now ready for telecommunications and IT asset recovery companies to streamline and generate more profitable customer returns. Later this year, we will also be launching our "external inspection" application, allowing asset recovery companies to give their customers a white-labelled mobile app to inspect inventories that automatically get approved and marked for recovery. No more fragmented excel and paper-based processes - digitise your recovery today.

To find out more, feel free to book a demo to see the full capabilities of our software.

A big thank you to all of the mentors from The Alacrity Foundation Newport UK who made this all possible.

5 Emerging Trends In The Telecommunication Sector

Introduction: Emerging Trends In The Telecommunication Sector

The telecommunications industry has undergone an immense transformation over the past decade, but this is minor in comparison to what's to come. The RECOVAR Team sat down to discuss five emerging trends in the telecommunications sector that will be prominent in 2022 and beyond – we've covered them in detail below!

Feel free to contact the team or leave a comment on our socials to let us know what trends you believe will emerge over the next year and decade. We're always interested to gather feedback from our readers!

Major Trend 1: Speed

We all want things faster, right? As the rollout of next-generation technologies occurs across the globe, people are getting faster and more reliable connections than ever before. In particular, 5G and fibre have brought incredible speeds, increasingly reaching up to 100Mbps-200Mbps and 300Mbps, respectively.

Most importantly, speed is becoming accessible to more than just the rich as Openreach rolls out fibre at record rates in the UK. This will occur across the globe as international service providers follow suit parallel to copper switch off.

Additionally, analysts predict there will be close to 1.9 million 5G subscriptions worldwide by 2024, meaning those who don't have fibre may still have access to ultrafast connections.

On top of the speed benefits that 5G deployment brings, there are also substantial global economic benefits that will further accelerate this trend (Qualcomm):

Major Trend 2: Carbon Neutral Acceleration

The technology industry must be committed to reaching net-zero by 2050, but this goal will be tough to hit. Made even more challenging by the growing ease of access to technology and the internet.

Information and Communication Technology will use 20% of the world's electricity, creating up to 5.5% of emissions by 2025. Inevitably, much of this demand will be from storing and transmitting data from billions of online devices powered by fossil fuels.

On top of this, mobile users are also steadily increasing. By 2025 we're expected to reach 5.9 billion global mobile users, which, combined with 5G rollout, will cause data usage to soar. This increase in population that has access to the internet also requires an immense amount of resources - both through materials to create new phones and devices and electricity needed to power connections.

For example, the carbon cost of a minute of phone usage is ~57g, or "about the same as an apple or a large gulp of beer" (source), meaning for a below-average use user, their phone will generate close to 50kg CO2e per year. For users who use their phones for an hour a day, the annual CO2e output jumps by 73kg (source).

The carbon cost of a minute of phone usage is about 57g, - about the same as an apple.
The carbon cost of a minute of phone usage is about 57g, about the same as an apple - Mike Berners-Lee

To counteract the immense growth in energy usage and resource consumption while also meeting the demand of their customers, operators will need to accelerate their carbon neutral efforts. This may require leaning heavily on the circular economy and renewable energy sources.

The industry has been carbon neutral-focussed for some time now - 100% of BT's energy consumption has come from renewable sources since 2020 and the firm aims to be carbon neutral by 2045. However, we expect to see more innovation and larger budgets to hit the targets set globally, indicated by a Vodafone study showing that 51% of companies are yet to (but will need to) develop a clear strategy for investment in sustainability with a clearly defined budget (source).

Check out this blog from Mobile Magazine, which explores how telecom operators can be a part of a sustainable future.

Emerging Trends In The Telecommunication Sector #3 - IoT Devices

IoT devices and sensors have been rapidly changing the technological landscape in many industries. Internet of Things technology is beneficial for many aspects of people's lives, including quality-of-life and business profits. Governments can also enjoy a significant decrease in their IT costs, which benefits everyone.

Connectivity between devices, sensors, telecommunications infrastructure and the cloud enables new ways for management. This connectivity will be imperative to future growth and help manage energy consumption while also providing more intelligent environments for safer, more efficient telecoms networks.

For example, decentralised operations, condition-based monitoring, and predictive maintenance allow efficient communication between IoT devices. These IoT devices can be placed in telecommunications infrastructure to reduce cost and risk, which arises naturally from maintaining the network.

In this way, IoT automates production processes and enables the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts in the telecom sector - something we expect to see more and more over the next decade.

Telecom Industry Trends In The Next Decade #4 - Artificial Intelligence

With all the data that IoT devices can collect and the growing traffic volume through cloud computing, Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are likely to be emerging trends in the telecommunications sector.

Digital transformation requires the collection of information from data gathered by IoT sensors and devices. Big Data can help operators see patterns and trends that contribute to success. At the same time, the internet requires higher speeds and lower latency which fuel the need for better connection management – these improvements in networks come at a cost.

Some startups and tech companies have dedicated resources to developing AI solutions that address various network performance-related problems and reduce associated costs. Telcos will likely implement these solutions as they look for innovations in the telecoms industry to maintain their competitive advantage.

Major Trend 5 - Edge Computing

The whole world has gone through a transition into the "new normal" - increased working-from-home rates and demand for connection at all times. This has added increased emphasis on customer experience and customer service.

This change has accelerated the amount of data and processing power demanded from telcos - meaning edge computing is a natural next step for providers looking to strengthen their cyber security, business models and reduce the load on data centres and the cloud.

Edge computing takes computation away from data centres to the edge of the network. Meaning telcos can speed up data processing in real-time using connected devices, which (as covered in trend 1) is expected to continue in the years to come.

If you'd like to learn more about edge computing, check out the below image and this blog from IEEE.org, which covers real-life use cases for edge computing.

Real-Life Use Cases for Edge Computing
Real-Life Use Cases for Edge Computing - IEEE.Org

Conclusion: Emerging Trends In the Telecommunication Sector

These are just five telecom industry trends in the next decade that we expect to see. These trends will likely hit most industries, and there will be an exciting amount of innovation needed to fulfil demand without having negative consequences in the future.

Major trend 2 is a crucial focus for RECOVAR. Our software digitises the inspection and recovery of telecommunications equipment - increasing the supply into the circular economy and ultimately helping telcos reduce their carbon emissions.

The 5Rs of Waste Management Worksheet and Examples

Introduction: The 5Rs Meaning - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle

The 5Rs of waste management meaning is broken down into Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle. It is an important methodology for businesses to reduce waste and optimise their recycling efforts.

The 5rs will ultimately lessen the amount of waste that will end up in landfill, helping the environment and helping you generate revenue from your junk.

We have included a brief overview of the 5Rs below and created a 5Rs of Waste Management Worksheet, which you can use in your business.

Step One: Refuse

Say no to single-use items. The first step is to say no to items that will lead to waste production for your business – it may seem simple, but it'll be very effective in minimising your business's waste. 

Over a year, your company will generate less rubbish if you replace single-use plastics with reusable ones. Refuse next time you're offered single-use, low use or brand-new items. Instead, use a reusable alternative or buy second hand from a reputable supplier.

Ideally, you must get your procurement team involved to work out the logistics of how to approach this step effectively. When you work with your vendors and suppliers, avoid unnecessary product packaging and instead go for reusable or returnable packaging and containers.

Step Two: Reduce

In step two, take a step back and critically break down where you can reduce your use of wasteful and non-recyclable materials. By lowering these not only could you save money, but you'll also help the environment.

It is always best to only use the necessary amount of resources for a task - any saved resources can then be used for future needs. One good example of environmentally conscious behaviour is to always print on both sides of paper to reduce the amount of resources needed when printing a document. 

Here, you can not only reduce the resources your business uses, but you can also reduce what other businesses use. By returning unwanted items to the circular economy, companies can reuse what you no longer need, which takes us to step three.

Step Three: Reuse

To reduce waste materials, organisations are becoming more aware of the need to reuse items rather than discard them in the workplace. All you need to do is focus on one area of your business at a time, for example, the work kitchen. Try to replace single-use utensils and equipment with compostable, sustainable ones. If you find you're already environmentally-friendly in your business, find ways to reuse other products like protective packaging or food containers.

Step Four: Repurpose

If you can't do steps one to three, try upcycling instead. Upcycling is the process of transforming waste or unwanted items into new materials or products, that have a perceived greater quality – such as artistic or environmental value.

Sometimes repurposing may involve a bit of imagination and creativity. Still, upcycling everyday objects in the workplace is a cost-effective way of recycling if short of cash.

You could even designate an area in your office as an 'upcycling station' where colleagues can collect and store items that can be repurposed in the future. This space could also be an area where colleagues and visitors can share equipment.

For example, an employee may have IT equipment they no longer need; they can leave it in the space so it can have a second life rather than going to a landfill.

Step Five: Recycle

Last but not least, recycling! Going through the other R's requires you to understand where your materials are going – something which isn’t always possible when focussing upon your core business operations.

It doesn't matter if your business recycles already - start by sorting paper cardboard and paper products from plastic bags, plastic waste and glass! And if you can't do this, switch to recyclable products.

5Rs of Waste Management Worksheet and Examples

The 5Rs of Waste Management outlines a general framework to try and reduce waste. It is a great way to introduce yourself to the different concepts involved in waste reduction and a quick reminder of what you can do today.

This worksheet explains how you can apply these 5Rs in your life or workplace and gives 5rs of waste management examples.

The 5Rs of Waste Management Worksheet - RECOVAR
The 5Rs of Waste Management Worksheet - RECOVAR

How to Implement the 5Rs in Your Business

To reduce the amount of waste your company produces, you can try using the above worksheet, call in an expert or brainstorm within your team - you'd be surprised how many people have applied the above tactics in their home life.

With climate awareness and recycling covered in many school curriculums, innovation and ideas often come from younger family members. By speaking to the younger generations, your team could find some great ways to implement effective waste management procedures.

Calling in a startup to develop ways you can streamline your recycling programs, increase revenue from old items or reduce carbon emissions in waste could also be a great place to start. Startups often attack problems from a new angle - allowing you to focus on your core business operations while they innovate in the background!

With only 15-20% of e-waste recycled each year, there is definitely a lot more that needs to be done in businesses, even with the most valuable waste.

Conclusion & Next Steps

So, after reading this, which of the 5 Rs could you introduce or improve on in your business? Think through how you can strategise for waste production and disposal and see where improvements can be made for your business and the environment.

We are always happy to help with whatever questions you have! If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please let us know. We would be glad to schedule a time to chat with you.

What are WEEE Regulations and how they Impact Your Business

Introduction: What are WEEE Regulations and the WEEE Directive for Business

What are WEEE Regulations? The EU WEEE Directive, or Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Directive, was enacted in 2006 to help reduce the impact of end of life electronics on the environment.

If you manufacture, import, remarket, distribute or dispose of Electronic and Electrical Equipment, such as household appliances, I.T. or telecoms equipment and power tools, you must comply with the WEEE Regulations.

In this blog, we will discuss what the directive is, look at how it has changed over time, and take a deep dive into who it impacts and why it's important for businesses.

What Types of Electronic Waste Does the WEEE Directive Cover? The Ten WEEE Categories

We often get asked, "What Types of Electronic Waste Does the WEEE Directive Cover?" – this is challenging for many businesses to know, as Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment is a broad term, and you're not the first to ask what are WEEE items.

WEEE and E Waste Regulations For Business from RECOVAR
It is currently estimated that only 15-20% of WEEE is recycled.

What is covered by WEEE regulations can be broken down into the following ten categories:

  1. Large Household Appliances: Microwaves, Electric Radiators, Refrigerators, Freezers, Electric Stoves, Washing Machines etc. These appliances make up over 40% of WEEE in the U.K. (source).
  2. Small Household Appliances: Toaster, Scales, Irons, Sewing Machines, Coffee Machines, Hair Dryers, Electric Toothbrushes etc.
  3. I.T. and Telecoms Equipment: Printers, Laptops, PBX Phone Systems, MDF (Main Distributions Frames), Calculators etc.
  4. Consumer Equipment: Radio Sets, Video Cameras, Musical Equipment etc.
  5. Lighting Equipment: Fluorescent lamps (Compact or Straight), Luminaires for Fluorescent Lamps etc.
  6. Electrical and Electronic Tools (Except Large Stationary Industrial Tools): Spraying Equipment, Saws, Drills, Sanding Machines, Tools for Riveting or Welding etc.
  7. Toys, Leisure and Sports Equipment: Video Games, Sports Equipment with Electric Components, Hand-held Video Game Consoles (D.S., PSP, Nintendo Switch etc.), Electric Trains etc.
  8. Medical Equipment/Devices (Except Implanted and Infected Products): Analysers, Freezers, Radiotherapy Equipment, Cariology Equipment, Ventilators etc.
  9. Monitoring and Control Instruments: Thermostats, Smoke Alarms/Detectors etc.
  10. Automatic Dispensers: For Hot Drinks, Cans, Water Bottles, Money etc.

These categories help companies that manufacture, import, remarket, distribute, or dispose of EEE properly sort and categorise waste to ensure it gets dealt with properly. From 2014, WEEE also includes equipment powered by solar panels and batteries.

What Types of Electronic Waste Does the WEEE Regulations Not Cover?

The WEEE Directive does not cover the following equipment:

If something does not have a function by itself and are only used with another product, they are still classed as WEEE, including computer keyboards, charging cables, headphones, and antennas. However, WEEE regulations only apply to finished products, meaning components, spares, and sub-assemblies are most likely exempt.

How do I Know if My Company Needs to Comply with the WEEE Directive?

The European Union WEEE Directive was established to reduce electronic waste's impact on the environment by putting the responsibility on businesses to ensure EEE is appropriately reused, recycled, repurposed or resold.

The WEEE Directive applies to businesses in all 27 countries in the European Union that use EEE that operates up to 1,500V D.C. or 1,000V A.C. It also applies to all corporations which import products into E.U. countries, including companies that have their headquarters outside the E.U. It does not apply to private households or individuals who purchase electronic devices, but only if they are not acting on behalf of a business with a physical presence in Europe.

If you fall within the E.U. and your business does any of the following, you must comply with WEEE Regulations:

  1. Manufacture, import, or rebrand electrical or electronic equipment, i.e. you produce EEE. This includes reselling under your own or another brand.
  2. Distributing EEE: You're classed as a distributor if you're selling electronics for use, for example, e-commerce stores, retail outlets and wholesalers.
  3. Exporting EEE: If you ship electrical or electronic equipment to a different country for treatment, reuse or reprocessing, you must comply with the appropriate regulations - check out this webpage to find out more!
  4. Using EEE: If your business uses electronic or electrical equipment, you must dispose of it correctly once you no longer need it or it reaches its end of life - this applies to most businesses.
  5. Treating and Recycling EEE: You must have a PPC (Pollution Prevention and Control) Permit, waste management license or an exception if your business treats, recovers or recycles EEE. This applies to most Telecoms Asset Recovery and ITAD Companies.
  6. Refurbishing EEE: As with treating and recycling, if your business repairs or refurbishes waste electrical or electronic equipment, then you may also need a PPC, waste management license or exemption.

What Is The WEEE Legislation/Regulations 2013?

The WEEE regulations for business came into force in February 2003. According to the Environment Agency, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the fastest growing waste stream in the U.K. - these regulations limit the environmental damage this waste could cause.

What year were the WEEE regulations last updated? The EU WEEE Directive 2012 regulates the management of electrical and electronic waste and was the last time the legislation was updated.

When did the WEEE regulations introduce? The 2012 directive was introduced and applied in the U.K. in 2013. Schedule 2 of the Regulations provides categories of WEEE items, which we have detailed above.

Feel free to go to this link to see the complete Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 or read more about WEEE regulations for businesses below.

What Do The WEEE Regulations Mean For Businesses?

If you manufacture, import, remarket, distribute or dispose of Electronic and Electrical Equipment, such as household appliances, I.T. or telecoms equipment and power tools, you must comply with the WEEE Regulations.

This means that if you're a business that needs to get rid of redundant or end of life electrical and electrics equipment, you MUST comply with WEEE regulations. These regulations can be complicated and are found in detail on the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website.

This is tricky, as most businesses don’t know much about adequately disposing of WEEE or have up to date records of their EEE as they are busy focussing on their business's operations. This is often the first barrier to becoming compliant and where RECOVAR comes in.

Once you have up to date records, you can then implement a strategy to reuse EEE within an organisation or call in a specialist to recover value for your redundant equipment. To find out more about how your business can get the most out of your WEEE, feel free to get in touch today!

Conclusion On WEEE Regulations For Businesses: Start Thinking About Your Organisation's Electronic Waste Today

In the mid-1990s, less than 10% of WEEE was adequately reused, recycled or resold, with over 90% landfilled, incinerated or recovered without pre-treatment (source). While there has been progress, we are still a long way from where we need to be.

Each year, e-waste costs the U.K. an estimated £370m in lost raw materials such as copper and gold and in 2019, the U.K. generated 23.9kg of e-waste per person - the 2nd highest per capita in the world (source).

Businesses need to begin thinking about e-waste and the 5rs of Waste Management (refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and finally, recycle) - something we'll be covering in our next blog!

Mothballing of Equipment and a Building - What, Why, and Procedure

Introduction: What is Mothballing? Mothball Equipment and Building Meaning

Mothballing refers to the process of preserving a company's asset in case it is needed for future use or sale. In other words, it means that you're temporarily shutting your operations down and preserving your assets. For example, if more people are working from home and you need less office space, you may mothball an area of the office to save costs - locking the door so it can no longer be accessed.

The History of Mothballing Equipment

The term "mothballing" comes from using pesticides to protect clothes, etc., that are stored for long periods. Moths and moth larvae can cause damage to these items if left untreated, so people put mothballs inside tightly closed containers along with the clothing or materials to preserve them.

One of the most common uses of mothballing involves aircraft (commercial and military). Aircraft have high maintenance and fuel costs if left in operation, so it makes financial sense to mothball them if they’re not needed for a period of time. The unpredictability of energy prices (due to the supply and demand of resources) and the tight margins of the airline and industry means that mothballing these assets is expected. These aeroplanes are often stored at "graveyards", as shown below.

'The Boneyard' at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, which houses 4,400 planes (The Independent)

Ships with a military background are also typically "mothballed" between uses. This means they are stored to preserve them until they can be used again. They might also be maintained perpetually so that the Army has ships ready on hand for any future war efforts.

Mothballing Process and Procedure

Mothballing is the process/procedure of taking an asset such as a building or process equipment out of commission to be used at a later date. Below are several steps that a business or individual may need to go through before mothballing equipment or an asset. Feel free to leave a comment or drop the RECOVAR Team a message if you have anything to add!

  1. Appoint a person in charge of the mothballing project and come together as a team to define the mothball strategy
  2. Conduct a full audit: It's impossible to mothball an asset without knowing precisely what you're dealing with. This audit process may be costly, as there is often significant manual work required to visit and conduct an inspection at many sites. Especially when the work is done on Excel and paper! A full audit of a building will likely require you to document:
    • All floors (with floorplans) and rooms within a building
    • Power supply and water systems locations in each room
    • The security system in place
    • The quantity, condition and location of equipment and furniture in each room
    • The occupants and their daily working activity
    • Maintenance tasks and step by step process of running the building at present
    • Access details and on-site contact information
    • The facts and location of any hazardous materials, such as asbestos or oil
    • Any additional information needed for the successful site clearance, preservation or future sale
  3. Identify and assess the impact on the site inventory if left for or beyond the mothball period. You may need an external consultant or expert to help with this step.
    For example, a generator that is mothballed may not operate if left idle for an extended period. In this case, you will likely need to enlist experienced operators and mechanics to assist with the successful mothballing.
  4. Present a clear and comprehensive plan to all affected building inhabitants before then beginning the mothballing of the facility
  5. Finally, for the duration of the mothball period, you should continually monitor the condition of the inventory against what was set out in 3. Your plan should be reviewed at least every six months to ensure that the mothballed asset can be reused or sold when needed.

Mothballing Example: Building/Facility Mothball

Mothballing may involve tangible assets such as machinery and computers but can also include intangible assets such as concepts. For example, it can consist of product design concepts, operating theories, or major projects like expanding into new markets. Setting something aside means you can revisit the idea or item at a later point. For mothballing buildings or facilities specifically, we have outlined an example below:

A company identifies that after the COVID pandemic, employees now prefer a hybrid working approach - spending two days a week in the office and three days at home (a survey recently identified that 78% of workers would prefer to work in the office for only two days or less (source)).

This reduced occupancy means the company needs less office space. Reducing the office space could reduce capital expenditure (CAPEX) as the surplus to requirement office space, once-mothballed, no longer needs cleaning or maintaining as it would if in regular use. Mothballing prevents corrosion and damage if completed properly.

Additionally, by mothballing the equipment, this company could identify surplus to requirement assets and furniture that could be sold to generate revenue which could be invested to enhance the remaining workspace. If not sold, the surplus inventory could be recycled or reused by a charity - preventing a large amount of waste that often comes from companies overlooking the valuable inventory left in mothballed sites.

Mothball vs Abandonment – Which Process is Better for Your Facility?

Mothballing a building is a process by which the facility is preserved against deterioration during wartime or an economic downturn. The building might be used again in the future, but it might also remain abandoned for years. This preservation has an associated cost, which may not be best for businesses that need to drastically reduce CAPEX.

Abandoning a building means that it is no longer in use or maintained. The building should not be occupied or used, even temporarily, by people. This approach has the benefit of reduced costs; however, RECOVAR believes that mothballing is generally the best route to go, as it not only allows for the site to be reused or sold for a higher value in the future, but it also prevents environmental.

Leaving a building without preventing it from going into disrepair means that hazardous materials or liquids could enter the environment. Furthermore, the equipment inside doesn't get reused through the circular economy. This means other businesses buy new rather than taking what others no longer need. Abandoned buildings are also linked to increased crime rates (particularly arson) and declining property values.

Conclusion: When Should You Start the Mothballing Process for Your Facility?

This section provides a conclusion to the content that will help readers better understand how to properly mothball their facility, equipment or commercial building.

We have covered the steps needed to prepare for mothballing equipment and the cost involved in mothballing a facility. The next step is ensuring that you have enough time before you start the process. It is essential to know what type of facility you are planning on mothballing and how long it will take to build an inventory with enough detail to complete the project.

Once an estimated duration has been calculated, it is then best to work backwards to figure out when you should start the mothballing equipment process for your facility.